Wisdom Begins with Wonder

Standards-based grading welcomes me back with open arms!

A few years ago, I dove into the world of standards-based grading (SBG). While it had its merits, I decided to dump SBG for what I called UNgrading. I happily rolled with UNgrading for two years and mostly loved it. My chief struggle was finding time to conference with all students about their grades.

This year, I’m teaching at a new school with much less flexibility. My new school is much more locked in to curriculum and pacing guides, common assessments, etc. I have larger classes and a larger student load overall.

After a few weeks of existential vertigo, I needed to break the status quo. Full-fledged project-based learning with UNgrading wasn’t an option for me or for my new colleagues, so I decided SBG would champion my subversion campaign.

I have mostly avoided my previous gradebook frustrations with a version of the Keep It Simple Standards-Based Grading recommended by Frank Noschese. I have also read everything on the blogs of Shawn Cornally and Jason Buell and they have been crazy helpful. Yay blogosphere!

The cool thing is that several of my colleagues have expressed interest in jumping on board the SBG Express! My new administrators have been incredibly supportive of SBG as well.

I’m not happy that my primary form of assessment so far has been lab reports and quizzes. I definitely need help in this area.

I still have a lot of room for improving how well I communicate my grading method to my students (and parents). The kids are only just now starting to get it, 12 weeks into the school year.

In spite of these struggles, I feel like I’m on the right track!



4 comments ↓

  • #   Becca on 11.14.12 at 8:05 pm     

    Just curious, do you use a trend score when determining student growth? In my classroom with SBG, I find that using a trend score is very powerful and the students have really latched on to the learning process.


  • #   Barclay Thompson on 11.17.12 at 11:32 am     

    Hi! I am a education student at the University of South Alabama. I was assigned to read your blog this week. I just wanted to say that I liked reading it. Your writing style is much like mine: Short and Sweet. :) Thank you for sharing your experiences. They will no doubt help future educators like me to stay informed and inspired.


  • #   Mr. Rice on 12.08.12 at 1:07 pm     

    Becca,

    I do not use an automated formula for SBG score calculations. I simply replace the old evidence with the most recent evidence. Once a student has demonstrated sufficient knowledge and understanding, I mark that they have met the standard. However, students have to really drop off the map in order to “un-meet” a standard.

    For example, on a 4 point scoring scale, if a student scores a 3 or better on an assessment, they have met the standard. If on a subsequent assessment, they score a 2 or a 2.5 I do not lower their score. If, on the other hand, they score a 0, 0.5 or 1, I will lower the score. At a 1.5, it depends on how big the holes in their knowledge appear to be.


  • #   Mr. Rice on 12.08.12 at 1:08 pm     

    Barclay,

    Thanks for reading and commenting! I appreciate the compliments. Which post did you find most engaging?


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