Middle School News Detail

Standards Based Grading

Margaret Paul
Dear Families,
 
We want to thank you for your attendance at both Curriculum nights for the high school in the past two weeks--it was so wonderful to gather together, even on Zoom, to hear from the high school faculty about the academic program this year. I know you were all as impressed as we are at the commitment, creativity, and depth of knowledge that our high school faculty bring to our classrooms every day. 

And this morning we hosted a Zoom Coffee for families regarding the standards-based grading system and grading platform we use. If you weren’t able to attend, below is an overview. We encourage you to review this material, but to also do the following to support your student:

  • Ask your student to “show you around” our feedback platform (www.sbgbook.xyz). (Students have an account, and families can access this platform by viewing it with their students).
  • We encourage you to do this soon, before quizzes and assignments are reported. If you ask your student to walk you through this before work has been assessed, they will feel that you are genuinely interested in learning about it, and less like you are trying to check up on them! This type of family is engagement around student learning is what we want to foster.
With Standards-Based grading, we organize our gradebooks by the specific skills or standards in the class rather than organizing by assignment. On assessments, students get scores for their work on the standards instead of an overall score or grade. 
 
Articulating the standards makes it clear what’s of value in the class. Students get feedback on what they have done well and where they can improve. By design, students have multiple opportunities to practice each standard and demonstrate proficiency. 

We use a Standards-Based grading system because it helps us establish dynamic feedback cycles that accomplish the following:

  • Provide clear, specific feedback that is organized by skill/content so that students know exactly what they need to work on to move towards understanding and mastery.
  • Provide opportunities for growth, and to de-emphasize speed. We want to assess if students are learning and understanding, rather than how quickly they are learning.
  • Provide clarity for students with transparency on their final grades. Because students can see their individual scores and progress on sbgbook.xyz, it is much easier for them to understand their final grade on their report card.

And finally, here are a few recommendations for how to engage with and support your students in their classes throughout the year. We suggest the following questions:

  • Have you checked SBGBook lately? Is there anything I can help you with?
  • What standards are you working on? What do you think you need help with?
  • Have you signed up for a retake, or have you met with your teacher about revisions?

We plan to upload a brief video to the HS Resource page reviewing the slides from this morning’s coffee. In addition, there is a one-page handout that provides a bit more of an overview. 

As always please reach out with questions!
 
Note: Thank you to all of our teachers for providing descriptions of their standards-based grading practices in their particular class. For this page today, we cite the work of Jane Belton, Daniel Li and Kelly O’Shea, and appreciate their willingness to share their materials and writing.
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