Record keeping tracks your students’ progress and provides evidence to support your grading decisions. Developing good record-keeping habits is essential for organizing, processing, and communicating the students’ understanding of the curriculum.

Considerations

  • Know what your school or district expects of you.
  • Ask other teachers how they organize their grading.
  • Grade in a way that works for you, making sure that students’ graded assignments provide a well-rounded view of their progress.
  • Handle your record keeping either as hard copy or electronically, depending on the requirements of your school or district.
  • Track students’ scores for exams, projects, and other assignments.
  • Don’t fall behind. Try to enter at least some scores every day or every week.
  • Secure your grade book and/or your computer. Remember, student records are confidential.

Grade Book or Grading Program

A book specifically for recording grades or a grading program for tracking grades, assignments, and assessment scores makes record keeping much more efficient. This resource is usually provided for you by the school or district. If you are using a grade book, you can purchase it yourself, especially if you have a specific preference about which record-keeping tool you want to use.

Considerations

  • Record, organize, and interpret students’ assignments and assessments in your grade book or grading program on a regular basis.
  • Set student goals based on performance.
  • Use the grade book or grading program to support your teaching in many ways, including the following:
    • Providing evidence of student growth
    • Showing patterns of weakness or improvement
    • Helping you make informed decisions about students’ progress 
    • Aiding discussions about students’ progress with students, parents, and administrators
    • Aiding explanations to parents about the progress their children are making and providing evidence to justify those claims
    • Aiding referrals of students for special services Informing your own teaching practice and planning
    • Helping you know what you need to reteach, when to move on, and when students have mastered certain subjects

Checklists

Checklists are an easy way to record scores, behavior, effort, and participation—all of which are part of the feedback provided on report cards and/or progress reports.

Considerations

  • Create specific checklists to reflect what you are looking for (for example, the material each individual student is learning or how individual students are behaving).
  • Check items off as they are observed.

Anecdotal Notes

Anecdotal notes are helpful for fleshing out the quantitative information recorded in your grade book or grading program.

Considerations

  • Use Post-it Notes for anecdotal notes (always include the date), and place them inside the appropriate subject portfolio for the student.
  • Anecdotal notes can be accessed easily for conferencing with parents.

Class Record Charts

When displayed in the classroom, class record charts track similar information for all of your students. They can provide motivation for your students to complete or master the instructional material.

Considerations

  • Use checks, stars, or stickers to indicate completion and/or mastery.
  • Use a slash, X, circle, or empty cell to indicate non-completion and/or no mastery.
  • Create a chart for each subject area and post it on the corresponding bulletin board.
  • Use a variety of colored pens.
  • In upper grades, appoint student monitors to maintain the charts.
  • Cut up completed charts so that individual strips can be sent home for parents to see. 
  • Class record charts can be used to track many different activities, including the following:
    • Completed homework
    • Completion of assignments and/or mastery
    • Mastery of multiplication tables or other specific material

Subject Portfolios

For subject areas such as math, social studies, science, and art, file folders can be set up to create student portfolios.

Considerations

  • Establish guidelines for the subject area portfolios, such as the following:
    • Each portfolio must have three examples of the student’s work.
    • Students select the graded assignments to place in their portfolios.
    • Students must write a note to explain why they selected a specific piece for their portfolio.
    • Students may replace items with improved examples of their work as they see fit.
    • Students must maintain neat and organized portfolios.
  • Use these portfolios to support grade book or grading program records.
  • Remember that portfolios are excellent items to display at Open House or to show to parents at conferences.

Writing Portfolios

Writing portfolios house a collection of students’ writings.

Considerations

  • Establish guidelines for writing portfolios, such as the following:
    • Each writing portfolio must have at least three examples of the student’s work.
    • Students select which graded assignments to place in their writing portfolios.
    • Students may replace items with improved examples of their work as they see fit.
    • Students must maintain neat and organized writing portfolios.
  • Discuss with each student their reason for selecting a particular writing assignment for inclusion in the writing portfolio and record the student’s reason.
  • Use these portfolios to support grade book or grading program records.
  • Remember that portfolios are excellent items to display at Open House or to show to parents at conferences.

Assessment Folders

Assessment folders house a collection of assessments that monitor students' progress.

Considerations

  • Keep all formal assessments in the students' assessment folders.
  • Record assessment scores on the cover of each folder for easy access.
  • Use assessment folders in conferences and during a referral process.
  • Maintain these folders yourself; the contents are confidential.
  • Have assessment folders accessible to administrators for review upon request.