3 P System of Grading

We will be undertaking a new grading system this quarter. I believe this system will move you towards the academic independence necessary for your careers in college. The critical component of this process is the use of narrative style assessment and self evaluation (self grading). It will account for 50% of your quarter grade and will cover grading of three particular things: performance on written work, progress towards writing goals, and participation in class activities. That is what the 3Ps stand for.

The designer of this system Steve Peha, argues that a narrative evaluation of these three criteria is more reflective real world assessment, and in my experience I agree. I am excited to try out this system which has been tested in classrooms for years. I am confident that through this experience we will learn and grow both as writers and thinkers.

Steve Peha's Own Explanation of the 3P System - Written for Teachers

Below see the handouts you were provided in class, including rubrics which will be used to help guide your self evaluation.

3 P System Explained for English 12


Throughout the quarter we will work on a variety of writing assignments. Like first semester, they will cover a broad range, but they will most likely fall into three categories: lit response prompts, short essays (3 paragraph) and longer take home essays. These will be collected in your folder in class, or electronically in an accessible online portfolio (probably VoiceThread).

At the end of the quarter, you will pull together representative samples of your work for you and I to evaluate, and together we will create a grade for your writing and participation over the quarter.

Self Evaluation and Teacher Evaluation

Your grade will be created through a self evaluation you will write about your own work, assessing both the progress you've made and your performance on a whole. Rubrics will be provided to help you with this. Mine will be done similarly based on my review of your work and your self evaluation. For the final calculation of the grade, you and I will meet and conference.

Grading Progress

Progress will be graded by a written self evaluation that will address the entire span of your work. On the reverse side of this sheet is more specific information about what that will look like.

Grading Performance and Participation

To grade writing, you will choose representative samples of the best of your written work. For participation, you will look back on a monthly basis at how you performed in class. Below is the grade scale that Steve Peha designer of the 3 P system uses. We will discuss the meaning of each of these, but they will help guide your increased understanding of what evaluation looks like in the real world. I've included the grade of "E" here, but we will not be using it in our real evaluations.

"A" means "Above and beyond"

"B" means "Basically fine"

"C" means "Could've done better"

"D" means "Didn't try"

"E" means " Excuses, Excuses"

"F" means "Forget about it”

Please read Steve Peha's own description of his development of this grading scale.

Over the years that I've used the 3P System, I've tired to find just the right bits of language to describe how we look at ourselves in the world of work relative to the traditional grading scale we knew from school. Here's how my thinking goes:

􀁸 "A" means "Above and beyond". If I do everything my boss tells me, but only that, am I entitled to the highest reward? Not usually. Promotions, raises, bonuses, and other special dispensations are typically reserved for those who go beyond the call of duty. To be an "A" worker, you need to really single yourself out. You have to do more than you're expected to do. You have to be one of the very best.

􀁸 "B" means "Basically fine". If I'm able to do everything my job requires of me, I'm quite likely to be regarded as an important member of the organization. And even though I may not get that promotion and a seat in the corner office, I'll always have a job because I'm basically fine at what I do. (As a consultant these days, I point out to kids that I consider myself a "B" worker in my own company.)

􀁸 "C" means "Could've done better". The simple truth of the matter is that "C" workers don't stay working for long. Most of the workers in an organization are "B-s".

"C" workers are always in jeopardy of being moved around or thrown out altogether. And, truthfully, most "C" workers could do better; they could become "B-s" if they were more conscientious. Many "B" workers have "Clevel" talent but an "A-level" work ethic.

􀁸 "D" means "Didn't try". If "C" workers struggle, "D" workers probably don't even get hired in the first place. And the difference is probably one of effort. Personally, I've never understood the purpose of the "D" grade. What does it mean? Does "D" stand for "Didn't do anything?" If that's true, why give someone a grade at all? (Unofficially, I tell kids that I will not give "D" grades because I don't know what they mean. I've reinterpreted the "D" with the phrase "Didn't try" to tell kids that I know every one of them can do better than that.)

􀁸 "E" means "Excuses, excuses". The only way you can get an "E" (which I guess in some schools would be a failing grade) is if you never showed up to class or you didn't turn in your work. And I guess the only thing you'd have to offer by way of explanation would be an excuse.

􀁸 "F" means "Forget about it". The other type of failing grade. In the type of classes I teach, kids have to work pretty hard to fail. If a kid did fail, I don't think there'd be much point in talking about the reasons why. The kid and I would likely have been through it a dozen times by the end of the term anyway. Better to forget about past performance; just come back next quarter and try again.