Issue 4
February 1999

Editorial Staff: 
David Lloyd
Gail Mann 
Ellen Serfaty 
Ann Shlapobersky
Renee Wahl

Ask The Inspector


When deciding on a grade for my pupils, can I take into account the fact that they prepare homework, come on time and are not late or do these things not "count" when I give a grade? 
Is my grade just supposed to reflect what they have  done on the tests? I am quite confused on this subject and would appreciate a clear answer. Is there a policy in the ministry for these grades for yud pupils? 
Thank you,
Hedy Gertler 

Hi Hedy, 
Although there are no official guidelines on how to evaluate your students, policy certainly steers away from giving end of term grades on the basis of tests alone. In our school (Ulpanat Ofra) we make up the grade as follows: Tests:60%; Quizzes:10%; Book reports:10%; Attendance and effort:10%; Homework:10%. If you know how to use Excel, the calculation can be done in seconds! 
Judy Kramer, 
National Coordinator, 
Ministry of Education 

Dear Hedy, 
You cannot give pupils grades based on tests alone. It's not fair. I include participation in class, homework and also what I call "attitude" - by this I mean - "does he bring books", etc. Schools have their own policy about this. Check with the principal and see what percentage they allot for this. Lateness and punctuality have another slot in the report card. 
Zvia Epstein.

Dear Hedy,
Your feeling that you would like to include in your students’ grades more than just test data fits in very well with the English Inspectorate policy on assessing student achievements.

If you look at the assessment principles in the official draft of the New Curriculum (P26), you will see recommendations for a variety of assessment tools - both traditional and alternative, formative and summative, on different areas of language development. So you can include homework and projects, extensive reading, portfolio assessment  and other tools alongside the traditional tests and quizzes. These should cover abilities in the different language domains, so that you end up with a profile of each student’s abilities. You will need to decide what the weighting of each element should be, preferably together with colleagues in your school. 

It is advisable to check  your school’s policy on inclusion of   elements such as the punctuality in student grades. It is usually not acceptable to reduce  students’ grades because of factors that are not related to their language development (such as behaviour).  On the other hand, it is common to include the component “Participation”, which does include being present! 

Don’t forget to make sure that your students know in advance how they will be assessed, and (even better) involve them in the decisions involved in planning their assessment. Empowering students to take part in their own assessment is very motivating for them.
Wishing you luck with the challenging role of assessing language development.
Debby Toperoff