Standards Based Grading
Why Standards-Based Grading and Reporting?
The research and experts in the field have asserted that standards-based grading and reporting allows us to align our grading and reporting practices to our standards-based instructional practices. When implemented, standards-based grading and reporting (SBGR) allows us to more accurately and consistently report student achievement to students and parents/guardians as it relates to state and local standards.
Grades are the ultimate form of feedback to a student about their progress toward mastery of standards. Grades need to be accurate and meaningful. Students and parents/guardians need a precise picture of what has been learned and what still needs to be learned. Grading and reporting around specific standards, while using the accompanying strategy of formative assessment with feedback related to progress toward mastery of standards, has been shown to significantly boost achievement and motivation for students. Research by Black and Wiliam (1998) and Hattie (2009) demonstrates that high quality formative assessment and feedback have a powerful impact on student learning. The effect size (the impact on student learning see Glossary page 16) of formative assessment and feedback on standardized tests is between 0.4 and 0.7, which is larger than most known educational interventions. As students’ progress in their mastery of standards, they feel motivated and more successful because enhancing perceived competence is motivating in and of itself. Students begin to think about grades and other assessments that teachers use to provide informational feedback as helpful toward their success.
Black, P. & Wiliam, D. (1998). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappa, 80(2), 139-149. Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning. New York: Routledge
Principles of Grading
4 Exceeding Standards Consistently meets most requirements for exceptional work related to course standards and demonstrates a deep level of knowledge and skill for this point in the school year
3 Meeting Standards Consistently meets most requirements for proficient work related to course standards and demonstrates grade level knowledge and skills for this point in the school year
2 Approaching Standards Consistently meets some requirements for proficient work related to course standards and demonstrates some grade level knowledge and skills for this point in school year
1 Attempting Standards Consistently meets few requirements for proficient work related to course standards and demonstrates little grade level knowledge and skill for this point in the school year
IE Insufficient Evidence Sufficient evidence has not been demonstrated to indicate an accurate grade
* This component was not assessed during this marking period
Work Habits - (not calculated into the academic grade)
Productivity Finishes assignments on time, quality/growth, uses time well
Social Responsibility Cooperative with staff and peers, engaged, sportsmanship, treats school property with respect
Independent Responsibility Prepared and ready to work on time, organized, seeks help when needed, follows directions
Academic Grades Defined
Exceeding Standard 4 - represents a student who is able to independently extend their knowledge through transference of learning to more complex content and thinking (not new content), including deeper conceptual understanding and application. For example, students can:
Create analogies and/or find connections, integrating areas of study
Apply concepts or procedures in a complex situation
Plan, devise, construct or create new situations that illustrate or use the concept
Transfer concepts or procedures to unfamiliar settings
Meeting Standard 3 - represents those students who understand the standards and are able to independently use the content, details, concepts, vocabulary, processes, procedures and skills that relate to the standard. These students understand not just the "what," but can correctly explain and/or demonstrate the "how" and "why." For example, students can:
Justify/explain a process or procedure
Solve problems in familiar contexts
Analyze situations and decide whether a concept/procedure applies
Compare, contrast, and distinguish a concept from related concepts
Summarize, conclude, predict and infer
Approaching Standard 2 - represents a student who has foundational understanding of the content and concepts explicitly taught in class. At Level 2, a student understands or can use the more simple concepts, vocabulary, skills, procedures, and/or details. Students approaching standard may require support as they are trying to make connections among ideas. For example, students can:
Identify or recall important information or processes
List parts of a concept, process or procedure
Complete simple procedures or algorithms
Attempting Standard 1 - represents a student who consistently requires help and support to understand foundational content and concepts explicitly taught in class. At Level 1, students are beginning to understand simple concepts, vocabulary, skills, procedures, and/or details. Students attempting the standard, require support as they are trying to make connections about ideas. For example, students can:
Identify or recall some information or processes
Identify parts of a concept, process or procedure
With support, may be able to complete simple procedures or algorithms
Teachers will be using scores from multiple assessments to measure the learning of a student. This practice provides multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate achievement toward learning targets. Assigning zeroes to missing work gives a value where in fact there is no data to grade.
The purpose of homework is to provide meaningful independent practice opportunities, background information, or enrich classroom experiences. Homework is used for practice, to prepare students for upcoming learning, and to reinforce and extend learning, but never to learn material for the first time.
Homework – although a useful tool for learning – should not have an impact on a student’s academic grade within a standards‐based grading and reporting system because it is practice aimed at increasing the student’s capacity to meet standard. Additionally, it is not possible to verify that the student who is assigned the homework completed the homework. As a result, homework will be used for formative feedback only and will not be included in the formulation of the academic grade.
Examples of Types of Homework (from “How to Grade for Learning” by Ken O’Connor):
Must be related to instructional objectives
Reviews and reinforces newly acquired skills of knowledge
Gives independent practice for a new concept/skill
Should have an allowance for mistakes as part of the learning process
Should be commented on or spot-checked but not counted as part of the academic grade
Demonstrates effort, not mastery of concept
Provides background information for upcoming lessons
Indicate with completion effort, not outcome mastery
Are frequently long-term continuing projects that parallel class work
Enrich classroom experiences and deepen the student’s understanding
Provide opportunities for problem solving and critical thinking
Integrate skills applying many different skills and knowledge sets to a task
Require students to apply previous learning to complete these assignments
Require project expectations and grading procedures for the assignment to be clear to students and parent
Henkle Middle School would like to acknowledge the Renton School District for creating this document. We have used their handbook as a baseline and have made changes as necessary to align with our three-year implementation plan.