• What is standards-based grading?

    Standards-based grading measures your student’s mastery of the essential standards for a class, or how well your student understands the material in class. At the beginning of every unit, the teacher will break down the standards for the unit into smaller objectives and criteria using a detailed rubric. During the unit, the student is assessed to see if they truly know the material using a variety of assessments, such as traditional pencil-and-paper tests, projects, discussions, or reports. The class grade will be based on all of the evidence the teacher collects demonstrating mastery of the essential standards. 


    The goal of this approach is to provide the teacher, student, and parent as accurate a picture as possible of the student’s learning and to encourage a dialogue about how the student can master the material for the class. In particular, because learning is a process that takes place over time, each assessment will provide feedback for the student about what to focus on next, and the student will be allowed to retake assessments. If the new assessment shows a higher level of mastery, that new score replaces the old one. 


    How is standards-based grading different from traditional grading?

    In the traditional 100-point grading system, a student’s grades are typically based on all of the work assigned in class, including classwork, homework, projects, quizzes, and tests. These scores are often arranged in the grade book based on the type of assignment rather than on the essential standards for the class. The grade may also include points for non-academic factors, such as participation, effort, or attitude. 


    Standards-based grading does not separate out tests, homework, or projects. All of the work a student does is used to assess the student’s mastery of the essential standards. A student’s scores from  their work are tracked by the essential standards, which gives the teacher, student, and parent a very detailed picture of which standards a student has mastered. Non-academic factors like behavior, attitude, and attendance are not included in this grade and reported in a different manner.


    What do the scores on the 4.0 scale mean?


    Proficiency Definitions


    4 = Highly – Students demonstrate an advanced understanding of and ability to apply the content knowledge (standards) and skills needed to be on track towards college and career readiness.


    Grade A – Completion of proficient work on all course objectives and advanced work on some objectives. (7 reasons why) 



    3 = Proficient – Students demonstrate a fundamental understanding of and ability to apply the content knowledge (standards) and skills needed to be on track towards college and career readiness.


    Grade B – Completion of proficient work on all course objectives.



    2 = Partially – Students demonstrate a partial understanding of an ability to apply the content knowledge(standards) and skills needed to be on track towards college and career readiness.


    Grade C – Completion of proficient work on the “power” objectives (not all).



    1 = Minimally – Students demonstrate a limited  understanding of and ability to apply the content knowledge(standards) and skills needed to be on track towards college and career readiness.


    Grade D – Completion of proficient work on 50% or less of course objectives. Missing important key concepts and “power” objectives. 



    0 = Little or No Demonstration of Knowledge - the students shows no understanding of the standards, even with assistance.


    0 mi = Missing Work - the students have not completed the work.


    Grade F - no completion of work on standards



    What is the grade scale for standards-based grading? 

    The 4.0 scale will be converted to a letter grade using the grading scale shown below:


    How will my student be assessed? 

    Your student’s learning will be assessed using a variety of formative and summative assessments. These tools will include formal assessments such as traditional paper-and-pencil tests, projects, written papers, lab reports, or  verbal assessments, but they may also include informal assessments such as classroom discussions or teacher observations. Essentially, everything that a student does in a standards-based class provides the teacher with evidence of the student’s learning.


    Why should my student do the homework assigned in class if it isn’t included in the grade? 

    Many students feel that in a standards-based class they don’t have to worry about anything except their final chapter or unit test. This is incorrect. It is important for students to understand that they are being assessed every day by their teachers, and that everything they do in class lets their teacher assess their knowledge and helps prepare the students for the assessments. Just as an NFL team would never expect to win the Superbowl without hours upon hours of practicing, students need the practice homework provides to prepare them for success. 


    Student work is also analyzed by teachers to determine growth and improvement towards mastery of a specific skill or content. Every teacher has the responsibility of taking all the work a student does into account when assigning a grade to a student’s work for a semester. So, if a student chooses to not do an assignment, not only are they missing an opportunity to practice a skill, they also miss an opportunity to display mastery of a standard to their teacher.


    Are non-academic factors, such as effort, attitude, participation, and behavior part of the class grade? 

    These factors have always been and will continue to be an important part of your student’s success. However, in standards-based grading, these factors will be communicated separately from your student’s academic grade.


    How will standards-based grading affect my student’s GPA and transcript?

    Standards-based grading reports an overall letter grade for each course, so it does not have any impact on your student’s grade point average or transcript.


    Grading and Assessment Definitions:

    1. Assessment: Gathering and interpreting information about student achievement using a variety of tools. 

    2. Benchmark Assessment: An assessment that measures a student’s achievement level on all standards in a course that will be repeated periodically to check for improvement. 

    3. Common Assessment: The same assessment that is given and graded by common grade level/subject classrooms at about the same time to collect data. 

    4. Formative Assessment: Periodic assessment tool for learning that is used to adjust instruction for individual students or a whole class. 

    5. Grade: A simple, clear, and concrete summary representation of student achievement based on what a student knows at the end of a given time period. The number (or letter) reported at the end of a period of time as a summary statement of student performance. 

    6. Mastery: Demonstration of student performance against standard criteria at a pre-established level. 

    7. Score: To mark, evaluate, or place a value on a single product as compared to a standard or objective. The number (or letter) “score” given to any student test or performance.

    8. Standards: Statement that describes what and/or how well students are expected to understand and perform. 

    9. Standards-based Grading: Achievement level based on mastery of essential standards—a grading system where scores denote progress toward the understanding of a specific standard. 

    10. Summative Assessment: An evaluation tool designed to show information about a student’s achievement at the end of a period of instruction. 

    11. Test: An assessment intended to measure the student’s knowledge or other abilities. 

    12. 4.0 Rubric: A grading tool used to provide feedback on an identified learning goal. The score signifies the knowledge a student has towards that learning goal. It moves from simple (2.0) to more complex (3.0) with a score of 4.0 requiring synthesis and analysis. A score of 3.0 is the proficient level of mastering the targeted learning goal.