Modified/Adapted Grading

The Strategy

Modified or adapted grading is a strategy in which the teacher alters the grading criteria used for a student. Modifying grading criteria is a way to make earning points easier or better matched to the student’s developmental level to increase the likelihood that the student does well on the assignment. Modified grading may increase student motivation which in turn may help the student complete tasks they find difficult. Although this strategy may lead to higher grades, it will not provide the student with skills that allow them to meet typical classroom expectations. Thus, this strategy should be used in conjunction with other strategies (notetaking training; self-monitoring; daily report card; student choice) that facilitate skill development.

  1. Identify assignment types or content areas that are particularly difficult for the student. For example, consider subjects with low grades, low completion rates, and/or assignment types that tend to lead to student frustration.
  2. Identify appropriate grading modifications for this student. For example, grade for completion rather than accuracy, grade only one component (e.g., content, not spelling), alter the grading scale (e.g., 80% considered an A), make it a pass/fail assignment.
  3. Describe the modification and its purpose to the student (the level of detail provided can be based on the student’s developmental level) and the student’s parents if appropriate. Be specific about which assignments or exams this grading modification will be applied.
  4. Determine when the team will meet again to assess the impact of this strategy on academic and behavioral performance. Use Beacon progress monitoring tools to evaluate the extent to which this strategy is improving the target behaviors as intended.

  • Expectations for modified grading should be clear and enforced. Make sure that the student knows exactly what is expected of them to receive credit on specific problems, assignments, or exams each day.
  • Discuss proposed modifications with school administrators, other teachers who provide grades to this students, and other school professionals on the child’s support team to ensure consistent communication about these modifications.
  • To reduce negative perceptions by peers, remind students privately about their modified grading after providing the whole class instruction.
  • Consider using this strategy as a short-term solution. To help the student meet age-appropriate expectations with regard to grades, gradually decrease the modifications given. See Peer Tutoring or Daily Report Card interventions for details.

Because modifying or adapting grading does not effectively build the skills students need to independently meet age-appropriate expectations, it cannot be evaluated for effectiveness. The goal of modifying or adapting grading is to ensure that a student passes a course. As passing a course is much less of a priority than learning, we recommend that services such as modifying grades not be considered. Instead, the focus should be on interventions directed at improving students’ ability to independently meet age-appropriate learning expectations.

Intervention Scorecard

This intervention is recommended for the following presenting problems.

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Other suitable presenting problems