Standards-Based Grading- What do you think?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Moogeeg, Nov 12, 2015.

  1. Moogeeg

    Moogeeg Companion

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    Nov 12, 2015

    Lately, I have been hearing about standards based grading a lot. It seems to be the newest "thing" in teaching. I teach high school and am wondering what this actually looks like in a classroom. How does it translate to a letter grade system if that is what the school uses?

    I am curious if any of you on AtoZ work in a school that has shifted to this practice, or if any of you have implemented it in your classrooms. How has it worked for you? I am not necessarily considering a shift, but I would like to learn more about the idea.

    Is it practical?
     
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  3. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Though I'm at elementary school, we use standards-based grading, and while you have to think differently than just "points" for this and "points" for that...I think it's extremely effective. While this isn't a shift, since every system I've been in since student teaching has had this, it certainly works for me and I think it better fits how elementary school is usually crafted.
     
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  4. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    My last school had a grading system with standards built in. It's definitely a new way of thinking but I personally loved it.
     
  5. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I worked at a school that had standards based grading... I disliked it. It was a ton of work for teachers, led to the production of a monstrously long report card that parents seldom read completely, and was demotivating for the kids who tried hard but were consistently below grade level.

    If I were going to do it again, I'd want a computer system that was able to assess whether they were meeting specific standards. The way we did it was like this: We'd take a 30 question math test. That math test covered, say, 6 different standards. So, instead of giving a grade such as 25/30, we'd divide up the answers into 6 different sections to see how they did in each area. It was good information, but SO much work that it was a huge headache in practice.
     
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  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    My elementary school does standards-based... I don't care much for it.
     
  7. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I used this method about 15 years ago and loved it. It was more work to complete report cards but I thought it was a better picture of where the children were. Currently, I'm at a school that uses traditional grades. Parents seem to be mostly concerned about the number on the report card and not really what the kid can or can't do.
     
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  8. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    While administrators and maybe teachers might like standards based grading, it is going to be a tough sell to the parents. I think that is where the largest challenge, and nearly impossible challenge, exists.
     
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  9. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I've observed that is true with any scale that is not A-F. I'm fine with that though. Parents want what they understand, and I get that. The ones I don't get are the ones who don't care what the grade is, regardless of what system is being used.
     
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  10. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Indeed, it's harder to get excited over Kiddo mastering such concepts than it is to have a nice clean A or whatever your equivalent is.
     
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  11. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Plus, they're just not equivelent. Say you are on a 1-4 scale. The 3 ("meets standards") usually is exactly what a child should be getting. To get a 4, students have to go really above and beyond and be far past grade level, and often teachers are told they shouldn't be giving many of these. However, the parents of the kids who do care sometimes look at those 3's and say, "Why is my child doing poorly and not getting 4's?"
     
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  12. Moogeeg

    Moogeeg Companion

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    Thank you all for responding! It really is an interesting diversion from what is already ingrained in the system. I do remember a standards-based report card for myself while I was in kindergarten, but it seems like it would definitely be a tougher sell to points-focused high schoolers.
     
  13. mrbooknampa

    mrbooknampa Rookie

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    I'm not positive the following topics are related but I'm writing them down to reflect and ponder. Within this movement of SBG is the idea that grades should be a reflection solely on what the students know instead of including behavior. An additional concept is that speed of mastery should not affect the grade. In other words, if a student shows turns homework in later, it should count full. These two components, that can go along with SBG, have not been fruitful in the real world. They may sound good but they simply are not effective for my students. Here is why: I don't want to limit my scope of influence for improving my students behaviorally. Grading character and academics is a useful piece of leverage to encourage character. The soft skills of showing respect, turning things in on time, and being nice are something I want to encourage with a grade. In regards to being able to turn homework in late for full credit has been a disaster. In other words, when an assignment is due no zeros go in the gradebook for those not turning it in. So the grades are inflated and students don't have motivation to do it at all and neither do their parents. I get the idea that on paper and in a perfect world these concepts are useful but down in the battle, students need accountability. And grading is a motivator I want to keep in my toolbox.
     
  14. mrbooknampa

    mrbooknampa Rookie

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    I really like the idea of the computer being able to grade the standards individually.
     
  15. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I'm all for standards-based grading, and I wish the movement would take over everywhere ASAP. I have such a hard time wrapping my mind around traditional A-F grading, especially when it comes to grading students with IEPs. It just doesn't make sense to me that, if a student didn't understand something at the beginning of the quarter but mastered it by the end of the quarter, their final grade should suffer because of what they didn't know in the beginning. The whole point of teaching and learning is to help students progress from point A to point B over a period of time. We don't expect them to know the same thing in the early stages as we do in the end stages.

    I agree that's it tough for parents to understand, but, like anything new in education, we need to find a way to educate the parents on it. I also understand the motivation factor that some, particularly secondary educators, are concerned with. That said, I don't think effort, behavior, and work habits should factor into an academic grade anyway. Academic grades should be based on knowledge/skills in a particular academic area. That doesn't mean that we should leave effort, behavior, and work habits off of a report card, but they should be their own categories, in which the teacher reports a separate grade for them rather than allowing an academic grade to be brought up or down due to a student's work habits.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015
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  16. waterfall

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    All three of the schools I've worked in have used it. I believe it's a state law here. Even though it's been implemented for at least the length of time I've been a teacher (6 years) it's very hard for parents to understand. I think it is logical and it makes sense to me that we grades should be on content mastery, and standards based grading gives more information about what child does and does not know. However, it does not provide the same motivation for parents or students to earn "good" grades that the traditional A-F system does. Although the grades give better information to future teachers, they are pretty much meaningless to parents and students. I work in an elementary so I'm not sure how this impacts HS. Do you still get some type of GPA from standards based grading, and how is it calculated? It seems that would throw a huge wrench into things since GPA is pretty widely used for college acceptance/scholarships.

    I do agree with Bella that effort/behavior should be graded separately. These are absolutely skills that are important in the "real world" and should be graded. However, giving a kid a low grade in content subjects due to behavior is misleading. The grade should reflect what the student knows. Many of my IEP students have great behavior and work habits, but their academic grades don't reflect this. I like that their report cards still show their strong character skills in a section devoted to behavior and work habits.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015
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  17. Bibliophile

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    This is basically what I think. It should be about what a student knows and can do that matters. However standards based grading as I know it was based on traditional summatives entirely and that is terrible for my son. No matter how hard he works he scores low (c average with A effort) so this demotivated him. Why work hard if your grades will never be good. In middle school they don't do standards based as he was used to in elementary and I showed him the system of doing all the work, turning it in on time and participating well in class every day, combined with c's on tests and he could still get honor roll. Well he got honor roll all year and he believed that he could do it-so he did and his attitude improved as did his learning becuase he was motivated by his chance to succeed and it is fantastic for him. So I guess maybe there is no one best answer for all students.
     
  18. Letsgo

    Letsgo Rookie

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    Nov 18, 2015

    I teach high school English, and while our school uses the typical percentages and letter grades, I think in terms of standard based grading. My lessons and assessments are set up in such a way that it would be easy for me to switch to SBG.

    My students have a hard time adjusting to it at first. For example, one Reading standard is for students to be able to
    cite textual evidence. A writing standard is to apply reading Standards to writing. So I will give them an assignment to write a paragraph in response to a question and to include 2 quotes from the text to support their response. If a student turned in the assignment without the quotes, I previously would have given them maybe 50% or 75%. Now, since the standards I am covering are to cite textual evidence in writing, I give them a 0% or incomplete if they don't include quotes. They may have written a paragraph, but it didn't meet the standard at all. If they get an "incomplete" they can come to my classroom during lunch to redo the assignment, so they still get an opportunity to show mastery of the standard (and it gives me a quick answer to angry parent phone calls!)
     

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