Standards-Based Grading

What is standards-based grading (SBG)?

— A brief description will eventually appear here. It will talk about: Multiple data points. More useful, pinpointed feedback. Remediation. Students see progress. Stress level, motivation level. Feedback instead of judgement. Etc.

My physics standards

Here is the historical list of standards (school year 2012 – 2013) for my classes. It includes lists for my Honors (sophomores and some juniors) and Regular (juniors) physics classes. The standards are grouped by model.

I am hoping to post a new list for my current classes (school year 2015 – 2016) this fall.

My particular SBG implementation

I used to use a flavor of SBG called Conjunctive Standards-Based Grading.

— A brief summary will eventually appear here.

I am currently using 5, 6, 8, 10 SBG.

Other best SBG posts on this blog

Usefulness of Test Corrections
Effort vs. Luck (Learning and Assessment Flow Chart)
Monkey Monkey Monkey (Or, will students take tests seriously if they can do them again?)
Choose your Test Flavor (On folding student choice into in-class assessments/reassessments)
Managing Extra Tests (On out-of-class assessments/reassessments)
— Original post (fall, 2011)
— Update (spring, 2012)
— Bundled Objectives (2012 school year idea)
Standards-Based Grading in a Points-Based World (Fitting SBG ideas into a system that requires points and continuously calculated grades)
Offside Assessments (How many standards do you test at once, and how do you test them?)

Student feedback (Course Evaluations)

Don’t just take it from me. Hear what students in SBG physics classes think—

I think it is fair because it is really who works the hardest gets the better grade, so it is no one’s fault but your own when you do badly.

It has made me become more conscious of how much I need to practice things before I move on to be able to fully understand them.

I don’t feel left behind in this class because I know there are opportunities outside of class to improve my grade.

I think this grading system is good because it shows whether or not we actually understand the material. For example, you can’t see what you don’t understand if you get a 78%, but a 1 shows that you obviously don’t have a firm grasp of the material.

I absolutely LOVE the new grading system. It’s highly, highly conducive to learning. I am usually very number driven and end up putting a lot of pressure on myself to achieve a certain number; the grade is my priority. With this system, I am focused on the material – what really matters. I work harder in class because I want to understand everything fully instead of slacking off in certain places because I know that my number grade will survive it.

I love it. I never realized until this year (when I was forced to think about the logic of the class grading system), but it makes absolutely NO SENSE to get a bad grade for not knowing something perfectly when you first do it. That’s just ridiculous to expect. Also, if I actually LEARN through the school year, and know the material really well by the end (LEARNING- what I thought we were encouraged to be doing), we are still brought down because we didn’t, at some point, know it. Doesn’t that make it seem like even if you actually improve and learn over the course of the year, you’ll still be treated like you don’t understand it partially? Stupid. Basically, I LOVE this grading system, despite how frustrating it can be when it doesn’t work in favor of my grade because it’s always in favor of my learning.

January 2011
January 2012
May 2012

Other Links

Here is the entire SBG category archive of this website.

— Other links will eventually appear here.

10 thoughts on “Standards-Based Grading

  1. Kelly,
    Thanks for posting all your experiences and practices. They are really helpful to me as a beginning modeler. One struggle I have with grading year after year is the pace with which many students take tests. Do you set a time limit on tests? What do you do about students who work extremely slowly on tests and quizzes?
    Matt Moeller

    1. Hey Matt,

      In the (recent) past, I’ve taken it on a case-by-case basis. When it made sense, I would give them as much time as I could (sometimes having them come back during a later free period to keep working). Basically, I always want them to have a chance to work on each problem. Some students officially get extra time, but others clearly need it (good work so far, but blank problems left when others are mostly finished), so I try to accommodate them as much as possible (even if they don’t have educational testing results that require it). It probably depends a lot on your school situation. You can start quizzes near the end of class time so that those who need extra time can easily come back during another period without having to stop in the middle of things and go back to regular class work (which I imagine is especially frustrating/jarring for them). In the end, with SBG, no quiz really matters on its own, so I try not to stress too much (and try to get them not to stress too much as well) when they don’t get to make each one completely perfect. They are going to have more chances at the same material.

      Hope that helps a bit!


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