All of my classes use a system called Standards Based Grading. This system of grading and learning encourages students to take control over their learning. They develop a solid understanding of which topics they are strong in and which ones they need to continue working on. 

Traditional Grading

  • One quiz/test assesses a mixture of topics. Student receives one overall grade for the whole quiz.

  • Quiz/test grades are a percentage of the questions that were correct.

  • Topics are usually assessed twice, once at the end of a unit and again at the end of the year during finals.

  • When a student fails a quiz, they move on to new material.

Standards Based Grading

  • Each quiz is broken apart into specific skills.
    Student receives a separate score for each skill on the quiz.

  • Skills are scored using a rubric. Score is determined based on how well a student proved to understand the skill.

  • Students reassess on the same skills many times. Instead of quiz/test grades being at the end of a unit, they are given frequently as we learn. Because of this, students can use their quiz grades to help decide which areas they still need to work on.

  • When a student receives a score that is not proficient, they continue to work on that skill until they are able to demonstrate that they know it. Once they understand it, their new score will replace the old score completely.

Students receive a separate score for each skill. The highest possible score is a 4, which would mean that the student proved that they completely understand the skill and completed the problems with no errors. In order to get a 5, a student needs to get a 4 on two different quizzes. This is to encourage students to make sure they don't forget skills after they have learned them.

The goal is for students to take more control of their learning. Their scores have meaning and help them understand what their grades actually mean. Grades also become a useful tool. Based on their scores, students know where to focus their efforts when asking for help or working on individual practice.  

Because new grades consistently replace the old ones, students have more control over their grades. The more effort they put in to reviewing and reassessing, the more their grades will go up. We frequently reassess in class, but students are free to request a reassessment any time that they feel that they have improved in a skill.


What the kids had to say about Standards Based Grading

  • "Normal classes would have just moved on to the next unit too quickly but if we as a group were not strong in something we would re-quiz."

  • "Standards based grading was fair and fun to work. When you found out you are horrible at a skill you are motivated to work."

  • "Just because you got it wrong the first time doesn't mean you’re not going to be able to do it the 2nd or 3rd or 4th time around."

  • "I was more motivated in this class because you could actually see what you needed to improve on."

  • "I liked re-quizzes. It helped with my grade a lot. If we didn't I would be stuck with 2s and failing. I saw what I had a 2 or lower on and said when I re-quiz I'm going to focus on this."

  • "Skills gave me time to understand a subject instead of learning something and taking one test which meant were done and never think about the subject till finals."

  • "It was very helpful, I understood where I was on the skill and I could see what I had to practice more or how much I need to work on."

  • "It was very useful. Allowed me to purely focus on what I needed to, instead of everything at once."

  • "I liked that I could re-learn a skill because then I could really learn it."

  • "It was good! As I improved my grade improved with me."

  • "It shows my improvement and showing how I'm getting better at a skill helps my confidence."

  • "I thought this was fair, I believe retesting skills that I didn't understand reinforced it and helped massively."

  • "It was a much better way to see what areas I was lacking in instead of a regular test that’s not specific on what I got right and what I got wrong."

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