Friday, July 11, 2014

What the Newbie Learned about Standard Based Grading...

So last year, I made my first attempt at moving towards a standards based classroom.  I began very small by listing the learning goals (standards) at the top of each test and then breaking the test into sections.  Each section contained only questions relating to that standard.  This is nothing new to me, but not something that I put into practice very often.  I heard about doing it years ago from my guru, Rick Wormeli, at an AMLE conference or SDE conference. (I love hearing Rick present!  He energizes and challenges me.  Go see him if you haven't!  I'll stop gushing now.)  Here is an example of what I was doing:


After a year of doing this consistently on every test and quiz, I learned the following three thing:

1) The test really wasn't enough to demonstrate mastery. 
In all honesty, there was a part of me that was hoping the test would be enough and I could say that standards based grading was a breeze.  Ha-ha-ha! That was a nice wish.  Next year, I have to focus on the assignments that I am giving and how they help me see what my students know.  I do a variety of activities, but I need to reexamine how I use them and why I am using them.   I am also thinking that less may be more when it comes to what goes in the grade book. 

2) My scale of 3, 4, and 5 was just renaming the traditional grades of 60-100%. 
I began to realize as the year went on that I was bringing awareness to the standards being learned, but not really standards based grading.  I need to keep working on a rubric that reflects the students' journey towards mastery.  This has been tougher to develop than I thought it would be.

3) It is hard to do standards based grading in a traditional, on-line grade book.  
I managed better than I expected, but I didn't feel a traditional grade book let me record the up and downs of working towards mastery.  I need to track this outside of the on-line grade book.  Just not sure what will work for me yet.

I am at the very beginning of standards based grading.  I plan to take what I learned and improve upon it.  Thankfully, since standards based grading isn't mandatory, I have time to develop standards based grading in my classroom.  That is a luxury I am not taking for granted. 


  1. I'm just getting ready for my third year of teaching after taking the last two years off. I'm hoping to ease my way into standards based grading. I love this idea for the tests!

    P.S. I love your blog! I've been reading since I found it this spring. The only suggestion I had is that the font is kind of hard to read :-)

    1. I am so happy to hear that you have been enjoying my ramblings! I really like the CarftyGirl font and don't plan to change it anytime soon, but I did increase the size from a 12 pt to a 14 pt to make it easier to read. I hope that it helps!