Standards Based Grading

What is Standards Based Grading?

Standards Based Grading is a method for teachers to measure how students are doing in meeting the learning goals for their grade as determined by their state’s standards. Learning standards are the academic skills your child should know or be able to do for his grade level by the end of the school year.

Standards based report cards give a grade for each learning standard, so students receive multiple grades in each subject area. In 5th grade math, for example, you’ll see the subject broken into several categories, such as operations/algebraic thinking and fractions. Under each category, you’ll see a list of math skills your child should be able to do, as well as a grade showing how your child is doing.

Work habits are graded separately to provide an accurate picture of your child’s academic achievement. Behavior includes aspects like completing tasks on time, going to class prepared, and contributing positively to class discussions.

Standards Based Grades vs Traditional Grades?

Providing grades for academic proficiency and work habits gives parents more information about the areas in which their child needs to improve than the traditional letter grading system. The traditional grading system combines many elements—test scores, quizzes, completed homework, classroom participation, coming to school on time, extra credit—and averages the semester’s work into a percentage that correlates with a letter grade.

Because standards-based report cards separate the two, you can see if your child needs help with an academic concept or can’t remember to turn in homework. Both should be addressed. An overarching goal in education these days is to develop students who not only master academic content but also demonstrate attributes for successful learning beyond school.

How Are Grades Determined?

A student’s performance on a series of assessments (both formative and summative) will be used to determine a student’s overall grade in a course. Practice assignments (homework) are just that, practice, and thus should serve primarily as a source of feedback and instructional support for both
students and teachers. Scores on practice assignments should not be used as a major component
of a student’s academic grade. Teachers may require students to complete all of their practice work prior to allowing them to take, or retake, an assessment.

Unit 7 Standards


Independent, high level of understanding, demonstrates skill with no errors, able to teach others the concept

Minimal support, show solid understanding, demonstrates skills with few errors

Needs intermittent support, gaining basic understanding, demonstrates skills with several errors

Needs continual support, acquiring basic skills, acquiring prerequisite skills, demonstrate skill with many errors