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Role Reversal

Role Reversal

Want to make your students more responsible for their own learning? Want to create an academic environment in which students thrive and develop a genuine thirst for knowledge? Want to improve your students standardized test results but avoid a teach-to-the-test mentality that throttles creativity and freedom?
In this book, Mark Barnes introduces and outlines the Results Only Learning Environment a place that embraces the final result of learning rather than the traditional methods for arriving at that result. A results-only classroom is rich with individual and cooperative learning activities that help students demonstrate mastery learning on their own terms, without being constrained by standards and pedagogy.
By embracing results-only learning, you will be able to transform your classroom into a bustling community of learners in which

* Students collaborate daily on a number of long-term, ongoing projects.
* Students receive constant narrative feedback.
* Yearlong projects target learning outcomes more meaningfully than worksheets, homework, tests, and quizzes.
* Freedom and independence are valued over punitive points, percentages, and letter grades.
* Students manage themselves and all but eliminate the need for traditional classroom management.

Learn how your students can take charge of their own achievement in an enjoyable, project-based, workshop setting that challenges them with real-world learning scenarios and helps them attain uncommonly excellent results.


A “2013 Best Professional Book” — Teacher Librarian

“This is a brutally honest account of Barnes’s mistakes and successes as a teacher, and a helpful guide for new and veteran educators seeking to excite students about learning and mastering 21st-century skills.” –

Developing Standards-Based Report Cards

Developing Standards-Based Report Cards

Developing Standards-Based Report Cards is by Thomas Guskey and Jane Bailey and available here.

About the Book

Develop standards-based report cards that are meaningful to students, parents, and educators!

Although schools have moved toward standards-based curriculum and instruction, grading practices and reporting systems have remained largely unchanged. Helping school leaders gain support for transitioning from traditional to standards-based report cards, this book guides educators in aligning assessment and reporting practices with standards-based education and providing more detailed reports of children’s learning and achievement.

A standards-based report card breaks down each subject area into specific elements of learning to offer parents and educators a more thorough description of each child’s progress toward proficiency. This accessible volume:

  • Provides a clear framework for developing standards-based report cards
  • Shows how to communicate with parents, students, and other stakeholders about changes
  • Illustrates how to achieve grading consistency without increasing teachers’ workloads or violating their professional autonomy

Filled with examples of standards-based report cards that can be adapted to a school’s needs, this practical resource shows district and school administrators how to establish reporting practices that facilitate learning.

Praise for Developing Standards-Based Report Cards

“This is a must-read for devoted Guskey-Bailey disciples! This latest addition to their collective wisdom provides clear measures for addressing the unique grading challenges of children with special education needs and children considered gifted or talented in the regular education classroom. Teachers who collaborate on students’ grades will find the recommended practices to be fair, logical, and an excellent way to communicate student learning.”

Melanie Goffen Horowitz, Principal

Central School, Wilmette, IL

“Guskey and Bailey clearly articulate the need for reform on one of today’s most pressing issues in education: grading and reporting. Throughout the book, they offer realistic solutions to improve how educators communicate a student’s academic progress to all stakeholders. Their work provides the practitioner with the research, step-by-step guidelines, and reporting templates so a faculty is ready to begin the dialogue to develop a standards-based report card. The research has helped us answer the two main questions: ‘What goes into a grade?’ and ‘How do we report it out?’ This work, without a doubt, is a model for schools that want to improve their system of grading and reporting. It certainly has transformed ours!”

Jeffrey Erickson, Assistant Principal

Minnetonka High School, MN

Get your copy here.

How to Grade for Learning, K-12

How to Grade for Learning

How to Grade for Learning, K-12, is by Ken O’Connor, longtime TTOG member and assessment consultant. Get your copy here.

About the book

This third edition of the best-selling How to Grade for Learning demonstrates how to improve grading practices by linking grades with standards and establishing policies that better reflect student achievement. Ken O’Connor updates his eight guidelines for good grading, explains the purpose and key elements of each guideline, and offers recommendations for practical applications. The book examines a number of additional grading issues, including grade point average calculation and the use of computer grading programs. This thoroughly revised edition includes:

  • A greater emphasis on standards-based grading practices
  • Updated research and additions to the sections on feedback and homework
  • New sections on academic dishonesty, extra credit, and bonus points
  • Additional information on utilizing level scores rather than percentages
  • Reflective exercises
  • Techniques for managing grading time more efficiently

An invaluable tool to help individual teachers assign grades that are accurate, meaningful, and supportive of learning, this book also makes an ideal staff development resource.

Praise for How to Grade for Learning

“Once again, Ken O’Connor has addressed one of the most emotional issues in education: grading. This book not only makes a compelling case for reformed grading practices, but also provides practical advice for the classroom teacher, school and system administrator, and policy maker at every level.”
—Douglas Reeves, Chairman
The Leadership and Learning Center

“I would recommend O’Connor’s approach to all teachers who believe that grades should clearly communicate actual student learning. For educators who want to make grades more meaningful and useful to students, parents, and teachers, this is the book to read.”
—Forrest Clark, Math Teacher
Nisqually Middle School, Lacey, WA

Get your copy here.

Assessment 3.0: Throw Out Your Grade Book and Inspire Learning

Corwin, 2015
Corwin, 2015

Assessment 3.0 is the book that inspired Teachers Throwing Out Grades. It’s available from Corwin Press here.

About Assessment 3.0

Most educators take for granted that “A-through-F” grades are the best measure of learning. But Mark Barnes’s formula for feedback, titled SE2R (Summarize, Explain, Redirect, Resubmit), has delivered stunning results to the forward-thinking schools that have tried it.

Now you can tap into the power of SE2R to supercharge student learning and accountability. The method in this book will loosen and then break your classroom’s dependence on traditional grading systems that do little more than silence student voices.

Delving into what really motivates students, the book covers:

  • How GPA is a classic example of “the tail wagging the dog”
  • Utilizing mobile devices and social networks to maximize the benefits of SE2R
  • Addressing and overcoming bureaucratic resistance to change
  • Real-life case studies proving SE2R’s viability

Your greatest responsibility is to your students. Don’t wait another day to start dismantling the grading system that is currently “failing” them all.

What people say

“Mark Barnes is a leader and revolutionary voice in the movement to rid our educational system of an outdated assessment model. In Assessment 3.0, he delivers a persuasive pitch that current grading practices are both poor reflections of learning and damaging to students. Not only does he clearly define the problem, he offers a powerful solution with his SE2R model and delivers a blueprint for implementation that can transform classrooms and schools.”
—Dave Burgess, Educator, Professional Development Speaker, and Author of Teach Like a Pirate

“Barnes is bold, insightful and right!  It is time to not only throw out your grade books, but all the misinformation in your brains that supports the need for grades! None of us became teachers so we could have color-coded grade books.  We became educators to make a difference in the minds of our students.  This book shows us how!”
—Russell J. Quaglia, President/Founder
Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations

“Mark has done something important in writing this book. He argues–clearly and with hope–for specific, actionable change right now in our early 21st century classrooms. Here’s the potential, here’s the problem, and here’s a way forward. This is a practical model for ed reform in general.

Assessment 3.0 illuminates the ample underbelly of traditional education practice by shining a floodlight on one of the most powerful icons–and relics–of its past: the letter grade. Rather than simply criticizing grades as “harmful,” Mark presents a compelling case for the impact of grading practices on how students learn, and in doing so maintains focus on the reason we’re all here–students and learning. 

 A recurring theme throughout the book is one of practice and application–honest assessment of what works, and ideas for making it happen. The book is, then, imminently useful for any educator–those wanting to think about their craft, and those simply looking for ideas for tomorrow morning. In that way, there can’t be higher praise.”

Terry Heick, Director of TeachThought

“This book will convince any reluctant educator to rethink the traditional grading system. If Mark’s vision can become a reality, students will be prepared for a world that doesn’t reward A’s and condemn F’s.”

Angela Maiers, Educator, Author, Speaker and Founder of Choose2Matter


Get your copy of Assessment 3.0 now.