The Ankeny Community School District sets forth the following guiding principles for standards-based practices:

  1. Course grades will accurately communicate only academic achievement of the standards.
  2. Extra credit and bonus points will not be included in students’ academic grade.
  3. Students will engage in independent learning/homework as a component of the Ankeny Instructional Framework.
  4. Students are expected to complete all required work by due dates.
  5. All students will have multiple and varied assessment opportunities to demonstrate achievement of the standards.
  6. Zeros will not be assigned for missing evidence. An I (for “Insufficient Data”) will be recorded when a student has not submitted required evidence of learning.

In the 2016-2017 school year, the district began transitioning to a standards-referenced system instead of a standards-based system. provides the following definition:

In brief, standards-referenced means that what gets taught or tested is “based” on standards (i.e., standards are the source of the content and skills taught to students—the original “reference” for the lesson), while standards-based refers to the practice of making sure students learn what they were taught and actually achieve the expected standards, and that they meet a defined standard for “proficiency.” In a standards-referenced system, teaching and testing are guided by standards; in a standards-based system, teachers work to ensure that students actually learn the expected material as they progress in their education.

Another way of looking at it is that standards-referenced refers to inputs (what is taught) and standards-based is focused on outputs (what is learned).

Dr. Robert Marzano provides the following comparison: