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A Standards-Based Grading Approach in Biology. Matt Thede. What is Standards-Based Grading (SBG)?. “…method of reporting what students have learned and how they demonstrated their learning…” Bruce Oliver, Just For the Asking, January, 2011

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what is standards based grading sbg
What is Standards-Based Grading (SBG)?
  • “…method of reporting what students have learned and how they demonstrated their learning…”
    • Bruce Oliver, Just For the Asking, January, 2011
  • “…measuring students' proficiency on well-defined course objectives.”
    • Scriffiny, P., “Seven Reasons for Standards-Based Grading,” Educational Leadership, Oct. 2008, 66
why standards based grading sbg rationale
Why Standards-Based Grading (SBG)? (Rationale)
  • Our current grading system lacks real meaning
  • Grades serve multiple purposes, which is a problem - it makes it very challenging to figure out exactly what they mean.
  • We have a current system that is outdated and “no longer makes sense in the current educational climate.”
  • “…sensible, realistic, and up-to-date.”
    • Bruce Oliver, Just For the Asking, January, 2011
why sbg
Why SBG?
  • “Grades are meant to report student progress toward learning goals – giving students, their families, and teachers useful information on where to make adjustments to achieve these goals.”
  • Varlas, Laura, How We Got Grading Wrong, and What to Do About It, ASCD, October, 2013, 55
why sbg1
Why SBG?
  • “Systems that are aligned – curriculum, teaching, and assessment – have a greater chance of success for students.”

Glenda Lappan, NCTM News Bulletin, October, 1998

why sbg2
Why SBG?
  • Matt Townsley – “…I was getting the right information to the right students while there was still time for learning.”
  • Instruction is more differentiated; creating an environment more conducive to students reaching their individual potential;
  • Students and parents better understand teachers’ expectations for performance;
  • Assessments are better aligned with standards;
  • Teachers feel more confident that they have the evidence they need to support their judgments about student proficiency; and
  • Teachers say their grading and reporting task is easier and quicker (after ‘implementation dip.’)
  • Randy Peters – Drake University
  • Research on SB shows (overwhelmingly) that students:
    • learn their subjects better
    • perform better in later education levels such as college
  • Research is consistent with Popham, Reeves, Marzano, Pickering, McTighe, Wiggins, Stiggins, Guskey, Brookhart, O’Connor, and the High Schools That Work Breaking Ranks program.
  • http://ojrsd.com - Owen J. Roberts School District
  • “In a study of 9th-grade science classrooms…Nolen (2003) found that when students perceived their classrooms as ability-based meritocracies, their performance on a districtwide, curriculum-based test was compromised. Students in other classes who saw teachers and peers to be focused on mastery and independent thinking performed significantly better on the district test.” -Wormeli, 2006, p. 60
  • Tim Brown – Raising Questions and Finding Answers in Our Grading Practices
  • “You can enhance or destroy students’ desire to succeed in school more quickly and permanently through your use of assessment than with any other tools you have at your disposal.”
  • Richard Stiggins – Assessment Training Institute, (Tim Brown – Raising Questions and Finding Answers in Our Grading Practices)
  • John Hattie reviewed 7,827 studies on learning and instruction. His conclusion: “The most powerful single innovation that enhances achievement is feedback. The simplest prescription for improving education must be ‘dollops’ of feedback.”
  • Cited in Marzano, 2008 (Tim Brown – Raising Questions and Finding Answers in Our Grading Practices)
  • Addressing the previous research, SB:
    • is mastery based – aligning the curriculum, instruction, and assessment with the Essential Standard/Learning Target
    • gives new meaning to formative assessments and feedback - homework, quizzes, and other formative assessments become a means to guide and direct instruction, as well as give critical feedback relative to where a student is at in relation to the Essential Standard/Learning Target
  • Assistant Administrator– to oversee change initiative
  • Volunteers and Representatives from each department – those wanting and seeing a need for grade reform
  • Built in costs of teachers wanting and needing time to build structure and implement
  • Allow up to 20 teachers 1 full day
  • $112.00 per day Substitute pay = $2,240.00
  • Fall
    • Build Team (ask for volunteers)
    • Meet for 3-4 weeks (once per week)
    • Come together on common ground
  • End of fall/beginning of winter
    • Staff from team share out what they’ve been doing at PL day
    • Survey staff to find common beliefs and to identify roadblocks
  • Winter
    • Address roadblocks, find solutions, and identify common beliefs about grading  then present to staff
    • Continue collecting data and come up with some common grading guidelines for our school.
  • Spring
    • If widely accepted, make a recommendation to the board
  • Comfortable room to meet with team
  • Staff development in Study Halls (with provided breakfast) 
professional learning
Professional Learning
  • Day 1 (1 hour)
    • Survey staff about grading beliefs in their classrooms
    • Staff present “what they’ve been doing and how they did it” regarding grading (include research and rationale)
    • Discussion questions during the presentation
    • Leave time for questions at the end

*make sure to present from a “this is what I did” point of view versus “top-down” approach

professional learning1
Professional Learning
  • Day 2 (1 hour)
    • Analyze survey information and present common beliefs about grading
    • Reveal the roadblocks and present research addressing the roadblocks
    • Discussion questions about data to help staff arrive at what the data means
    • Identify common ground in small groups regarding the data and points everyone can possibly agree on
  • Internal
    • Exploring
    • Timeline
    • Update as more information presents itself
  • External
    • Parent letter and forum to give general information and answer questions
    • Know we are moving forward first and have most questions and roadblocks addressed
    • District-wide announcement about the direction the school is headed and why