Crescendo Education Group

Crescendo Education Group Crescendo Ed Group partners with schools to help teachers improve grading and assessment, and with principals to strengthen instructional leadership.

Some good suggestions to show students from day 1 that their voice matters and that you care about them. Even better if ...
08/15/2017
6 Questions To Ask Your Students On Day OneASCD Inservice

Some good suggestions to show students from day 1 that their voice matters and that you care about them. Even better if you do something with the info you get from them!

It’s that time again – time to think about that very first day of school and how you greet your class on day one. How will you begin to create an environment for risk and creativity? Will your students be greeted by rules and “thou shalt nots”, or by questions that set the stage for thinking and ris...

Independent HS improving transcripts: Instead of abstract letter grades, reporting levels of mastery on specific skills ...
05/12/2017
Top private high schools start campaign to kill traditional transcripts and change college admissions

Independent HS improving transcripts: Instead of abstract letter grades, reporting levels of mastery on specific skills and content. Well done! Mastery Transcript Consortium

More than 100 elite private high schools aim to replace traditional transcripts with competency-based, nonstandardized documents -- with no grades. They plan to expand to public high schools, with goal of completely changing how students are evaluated.

Another reason not to grade students on their behavior, but on what they know.
05/08/2017
Why the Rebel Isn't the Problem

Another reason not to grade students on their behavior, but on what they know.

Disruptive students may not be the easiest to have in class, but perhaps defiance should be encouraged.

Entire CT district drops traditional A-F report card and uses standards-based grading. Creating better communication,  s...
04/18/2017
District says 24 credits and a D-minus average aren’t good enough - The Hechinger Report

Entire CT district drops traditional A-F report card and uses standards-based grading. Creating better communication, student empowerment, and higher achievement is worth the friction.

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — When Kylie Jones brings home her report card, it doesn’t have any A’s, B’s or C’s. The Windsor Locks High School freshman belongs to the first cohort of students going through middle and high school under a new system. Traditional grades no longer exist, children get extra hel...

“We don't think the discrimination and bias, by itself, had this effect. Instead, we think these experiences made stud...
02/09/2017
Preteens who mistrust teachers less likely to reach college

“We don't think the discrimination and bias, by itself, had this effect. Instead, we think these experiences made students disengage from the system.”

By Lisa Rapaport(Reuters Health) - Students of color who perceive biased treatment from middle school teachers may be less likely to attend college t

Prioritize learning over competition: Schools try to remove stress of class rankings--which one superintendent accuratel...
01/26/2017
Schools try to remove stress of class rankings

Prioritize learning over competition: Schools try to remove stress of class rankings--which one superintendent accurately calls a "false number".

Millard Public Schools near Omaha, Nebraska, will switch to a college-like ranking system that designates graduates as magna cm laude, summa cm laude and cm laude. This was after administrators

01/08/2017
Equity 101 Workshop Series 2016-2017

I'm leading Grading with an Equity Lens @ Solano County Office of Education on Jan 20. Helpful for teachers and admin to understand how traditional approaches to grading are unfair and inaccurate, and how to make them more equitable.

ACSA, ​in ​conjunction ​with ​its ​equity ​partners, ​is ​proud ​to ​bring ​you ​a ​unique ​new ​professional ​develop ​experience ​designed ​to ​build ​your ​cultural ​proficiency ​capacity ​in ​orde

01/06/2017
ASCD Express 12.02 - What About the Rules? A Lesson Plan for Building Trust First

To my Teacher Colleagues: A powerful way to build relationships with students on Day 1. Maybe use to kick off Semester 2 of 2016-17?

Founded in 1943, ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) is an educational leadership organization dedicated to advancing best practices and policies for the success of each learner. Our 175,000 members in 119 countries are professional educators from all levels an...

National networks of teachers wrote letter to ED to recommend PD that is a "progression of learning sessions coupled wit...
08/06/2016
Teacher Groups to Ed. Dept.: We Need Guidance on Professional Development

National networks of teachers wrote letter to ED to recommend PD that is a "progression of learning sessions coupled with the implementation of strategies in the classroom and subsequent feedback based on classroom observation." Good to have Crescendo's method validated!

A variety of teacher-policy groups want stronger PD guidance in the upcoming regulations under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Teacher: I see the difference in educational privilege every day. I live it. I am disgusted by it.
07/13/2016
Teacher: I see the difference in educational privilege every day. I live it. I am disgusted by it.

Teacher: I see the difference in educational privilege every day. I live it. I am disgusted by it.

'Almost every day, I slip food to one of my students. Both of his parents are in prison. Or, one of his parents is in prison and the other is dead. We can’t quite get the full story from him....Where there is money, there is education. Where there isn’t money, there is excessive testing, lack of cur...

Too many school systems misuse tests, haven’t sufficiently supported teachers, aren’t aligned with colleges, and hav...
07/12/2016
Unprepared College Students: A Perfect Storm | Crescendo Education Group

Too many school systems misuse tests, haven’t sufficiently supported teachers, aren’t aligned with colleges, and have inaccurate and unfair grading practices. Perhaps we can be motivated to address the causes individually when we see the impact of them collectively.

In Baltimore County, thousands of high school seniors are being required to take remedial math and English courses. And it’s not just in the city’s schools,

Entire districts using improved grading. Skepticism (& a silly loaded headline), but progress on a large scale! Would li...
07/06/2016
Is it becoming too hard to fail? Schools are shifting toward no-zero grading policies

Entire districts using improved grading. Skepticism (& a silly loaded headline), but progress on a large scale! Would like to see data on impact & outcomes to compare w my findings: reduced D's & F's (and A's), improved student engagement, & improved relationships bt students and teachers.

Schools across the country are adopting policies that encourage students to keep trying by avoiding grades that would put them into too deep of an academic hole.

What if a high-performing school just reflects that students come from high-resource families, and doesn't actually have...
06/27/2016
The Myth of High-Performing Schools | Crescendo Education Group

What if a high-performing school just reflects that students come from high-resource families, and doesn't actually have strong instruction? The idea that a high-performing school isn’t providing academic benefit to students is unsettling and risky.

When we’re identifying the best K-12 schools, some easy information to get is the school’s standardized test scores. Some states assign A-F grades to schools to

We will improve education in juvenile facilities when we believe in black/brown kids' rehabilitative potential.
06/22/2016
For Advocates, New Data On Education in Juvenile Facilities Just the Beginning

We will improve education in juvenile facilities when we believe in black/brown kids' rehabilitative potential.

For the first time, the federal civil rights data released by the Department of Education included information on the number of hours and days that students in juvenile facilities have access to educational programs. Advocates want more.

06/20/2016
What Grading Has to Do With Chronic Absenteeism | Crescendo Education Group

Why might most teachers' grading result in middle and high school students being chronically absent during 2nd and 4th quarters of the school year? For more info on equity and grading, follow me @JoeCFeldman.

The US Department of Education recently posted a website on chronic absenteeism that highlights data from its 2013-14 Civil Rights Data Collection. The headline

When students perceive their teachers treating students of color differently, there's less interest in kids pursuing cro...
06/14/2016
Do Teachers Help Push Black and White Kids Apart?

When students perceive their teachers treating students of color differently, there's less interest in kids pursuing cross-race friendships. "It’s the daily interactions that teachers have with their students in the classroom—modeling how you treat one another and how you listen to one another—that can bolster the likelihood of interracial friendships enduring."

Research shows that interracial friendships decline as kids enter adolescence—and that their perceptions of classroom educators play a role.

The same biases that cause us to disparately punish African-American girls behaviors are the same biases that deflate th...
06/10/2016
Black Girls and School Discipline: Four Researchers Unpack K-12's Racial Bias (Videos)

The same biases that cause us to disparately punish African-American girls behaviors are the same biases that deflate their grades when we include subjective categories like "Participation" & "Effort".

In four videos, education researchers discuss their perspectives on the criminalizing of black girls in American schools, including by school resource officers.

Students do better when they read about famous peoples' struggles. That's why not penalizing, even inviting, mistakes (a...
06/08/2016
How Stories Told Of Brilliant Scientists Affect Kids' Interest In The Field

Students do better when they read about famous peoples' struggles. That's why not penalizing, even inviting, mistakes (and retakes) is so valuable. It's real life!

Researchers found that students perform better in science where they read stories about how famous scientists struggled rather than when they read stories about what those scientists achieved.

All embarrassing. One that hit me hard: 1.6 million students attend a high school w/ a police officer but no guidance co...
06/08/2016
The Civil Rights Problem In U.S. Schools: 10 New Numbers

All embarrassing. One that hit me hard: 1.6 million students attend a high school w/ a police officer but no guidance counselor. What an awful message to send--a sure way to ensure their post-high school experiences don't include college.

Black and Hispanic students are disproportionately suspended, expelled, and have unequal access to education, according to the latest Civil Rights Data Collection.

06/02/2016
Joe Feldman (@JoeCFeldman) | Twitter

Finally, we're branching out to twitter! twitter.com/JoeCFeldman.
Look for info and links to critical conversations about education and grading / assessment.

The latest Tweets from Joe Feldman (@JoeCFeldman). 20+ year teacher, principal, administrator, now consultant on grading accurately and fairly. Oakland, CA

Spring Newsletter: Honoring Teachers' Judgments
05/03/2016
Trusting Teachers' Judgments

Spring Newsletter: Honoring Teachers' Judgments

Why do we cede our professional judgment to our grading software?

Lost of causes for this, but certainly when grades include attendance, perceived "effort", and other non-academic criter...
05/03/2016
9 Out Of 10 Parents Think Their Kids Are On Grade Level. They're Probably Wrong

Lost of causes for this, but certainly when grades include attendance, perceived "effort", and other non-academic criteria, it's going to inflate grades and give parents (and students) a false sense of their academic level.

A new national survey shows a huge disconnect between parent perceptions and student performance.

Totally agree with this--Small schools aren't a silver bullet, but without them certain benefits for kids are SO much ha...
02/12/2016
Small Schools: The Edu-Reform Failure That Wasn't

Totally agree with this--Small schools aren't a silver bullet, but without them certain benefits for kids are SO much harder. A shout out to all my small school colleagues and veterans.

Were small schools just another failed school improvement effort, or do they actually work? Jack Schneider's answer is both.

What's Wrong With ESSA?  The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law in December, is a vast improvement over ...
01/19/2016
Crescendo Newsletter--What's Still Wrong with ESSA?

What's Wrong With ESSA?
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law in December, is a vast improvement over its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). However, its primary feature—accountability based on student achievement—still falls short. Though schools will now be measured by broader criteria, ESSA preserves a painful irony of NCLB: the grades students earn remain ignored in the evaluation of school quality. See my full article: http://us9.campaign-archive2.com/?u=2643e9b0a5c2d98e55a050bcb&id=a770bfd609

While some would say that schools are lowering their standards, one real culprit of students being unprepared for colleg...
01/07/2016
As Graduation Rates Rise, Experts Fear Diplomas Come Up Short

While some would say that schools are lowering their standards, one real culprit of students being unprepared for college is how we grade.

It's not necessarily that grades are inflated---it's that they're overweight. A grade a student receives in a course is supposed to reflect her knowledge of the content--presumably, her test and quiz scores. However, teachers include a hodgepodge of other non-academic information in the calculation of a student's grade. Teachers award points to students when they complete homework, raise their hands, bring their notebooks to class, work well in a group, bring kleenex boxes in the winter, return permission slips, don't talk unless called upon--in other words, for behaviors that have nothing to do with academic competence in a subject area, but reflect the student following a teacher's instructions. As a result, students receive passing grades, and sometimes A's and B's, when they have complied with a teacher's behavior expectations even though they score low on tests. The teacher hasn't lowered her standards, it's just that the grade is so packed full of disparate information that it doesn't reflect what content knowledge a student has. The grade becomes nearly meaningless.

Of course it's important that teachers teach and reward "soft skills", but we need to find another way to report students' attainment of these non-academic skills. As it stands, we're rewarding compliance over content, and giving students and their families a false sense of their own readiness for the rigors of college.

The NY Board of Regents is considering changing its graduation requirements because fewer students passed the Algebra en...
12/02/2015
Common-Core Algebra: A Barrier to Graduation in New York?

The NY Board of Regents is considering changing its graduation requirements because fewer students passed the Algebra end-of-course exam required for graduation. If the school's algebra grades were accurate reflections of student proficiency, then schools could predict performance on the exams, and teachers would know what support was needed BEFORE students took (and failed) the exam!

New York has redesigned its Regents algebra test, which students must pass to graduate, to align to the common core. And the scores have consequently plummeted.

"The critical examination of how we grade might seem incidental to equity work but with more accurate and equitable grad...
08/02/2015
How our grading supports inequity, and what we can do about it

"The critical examination of how we grade might seem incidental to equity work but with more accurate and equitable grading, students feel a stronger sense of ownership, control and hope — three feelings that traditional grading systems don’t promote — and most importantly, student failure rates decrease dramatically."

SmartBlog on Education will shine a light on back-to-school teaching and learning trends during July. In this blog post, education consultant Joe Feldman t

08/02/2015
Our Approach to Teacher Learning

Rather than a traditional stand-and-deliver approach to professional development, we train teachers to conduct action research to explore, individually, what grading and assessment practices are most effective in their classroom to improve student performance.

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630 Kenwyn Rd
Oakland, CA
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