standards based grading n.
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Kids want to play games to get points in order to get an ‘A’. This is a problem because it puts emphasis on accumulating points and not on what the points are supposed represent: learning. We must migrate our systems of grading away from grading every single assignment (that is assigning a static grade for everything a kid does), and towards grades that are indexed by content.



What does a letter grade mean?

The following student earned an “A” for the semester.

what did that a mean
What did that “A” mean?
  • The student is organized.
  • The student completes (or copies) homework
  • The student is on task and participates in class
  • It might mean the student works hard OR it could mean they’ve learned the “numbers game”
sbg is not based on
  • Homework
  • Organization
  • Participation
  • Effort
  • Test Corrections
  • Extra Credit
sbg requires students to
SBG requires students to:
  • Be accountable for mastering content – not just accumulating points
  • Retain what they learn. A specific grade is not static! It can move up (once mastery is demonstrated) OR it can move down if a student “dumps” the information. Yes, I said it. A grade can be lowered if a student “learns it and leaves it behind”.
what does sba do for students
What does SBA do for students?
  • Allows them to master content at different rates.
  • Allows them to demonstrate growth and mastery OVER TIME rather than being punished for not knowing it on a specific test date.
how does it work my cliffsnotes version
How does it work? (My “CliffsNotes” Version)
  • Very specific “Learning Targets” (or standards or objectives…) are placed in the gradebook, rather than assignments:
      • Ex: Students will be able to explain the difference between kinetic and potential energy and give real-life examples of each.
  • On assessments, every question is directly linked to a specific Learning Target.

Students earn “marks” for each specific LT – not necessarily one score for an entire assessment.

    • A student might get 5 or 6 different scores depending on total # of LTs on a summative assessment

Students must complete a “remediation” before they are eligible to retest.

  • Retests are NOT the same test.
  • Retests DO assess the exact same content! I want to know my students have actually mastered the standard – not just memorized test questions.
some ground rules for students
Some ground rules for students…
  • Students can retest as many times as they like, but they must start remediation/retesting before the next summative exam.
  • A student must wait at least one day between retests and can not retest on a day they have come to me for help.
    • I want to move away from cram and memorize…not encourage it!

Students must know exactly what standard they want to reassess.

  • In other words, a student can’t come and simply say “Which Learning Target is my lowest, I’ll do that.” (Students can not just hopethey’ll do better.)
what about kids who aren t good test takers
What about kids who aren’t good test takers?
  • There really aren’t many students that aren’t good test takers. There are, however, many students who have never learned how to study and take tests.
  • Retests can be broken into chunks. A student doesn’t have to retake an entire test. They can focus in on areas of weakness and tackle one or two targets at a time.