I jumped on the SBG (standards based grading) express 2 years ago. My main reason for going to SBG was an extreme dissatisfaction with the grading status quo. I felt like I was doing kids a disservice with points and weighted categories and the like.
So I dove headfirst into SBG along with 2 of my coworkers. We had read Marzano’s Classroom Grading that Works and a few other articles about SBG on the web. That wast the extent of our SBG training.
We immediately got big push back from the “old-school” parents in our district. We actually had to hold a 2 hour sit down meeting with several of them. It was uncomfortable (and a bit bizarre). I’m still not sure exactly what they wanted.
Anyway, 2 years of SBG led me to both love and hate it.
I loved replacing old evidence of student learning with new. I loved focusing grades on learning and nothing else. I loved getting rid of the grading of meaningless work.
I hated that kids never really understood their grades. No matter how much I explained it to them, many never really got the system. That meant that I was giving them grades that they really didn’t understand. Shoot, sometimes I didn’t understand the way the computer tabulated them.
What I really hated was trying to do SBG in the awkward, clunky, slow online gradebook that we are mandated to use. The system (Skyward) has a standards-based gradebook but it really wasn’t functional. We had to create a bunch of weird workarounds within the system to make it work. Even after that, the system still insisted on averaging their grades.
Mainly, I dumped SBG because it didn’t fit great with Project-Based Learning. Because students are only receiving grades for their projects – grades they give themselves – there are not enough assessments or reassessment options for SBG. That being said, I am keeping a shadow gradebook (in EasyGrade Pro) in which I’m using very subjective SBG. This is only for me to see. I’m considering it a bit of action research on my UNgrading practices as compared to SBG.
Obviously, I’m very happy with UNgrading and strongly believe it’s the right way to go. However, many of you out there aren’t ready to make that leap yet. Until then, SBG is a nice brigdge.
As if I have time to keep up 2 gradebooks… and my head explodes.