Standards Based Grading

Why do we grade the way we do? A Simulation

Thomas Guskey has described grading as the "largest implementation gap" in education today. We know that averaging assignments, penalizing students for homework incompletion, and giving good grades to "good students" is not effective. But how do we break free from our old practices? We have to think differently. 


What is the purpose of grading?

What is the purpose of grading? We know that grades can be used as rewards. However, they do not have any effect as punishments. Should grades be used as communication tools? As sticks? As carrots? Check out the results of our informal survey.

What is standards based grading?

  • Performance is based around skills or standards identified by the curriculum used in the state or district.
  • Students are not penalized for taking longer to learn something.
  • Students' performances closer to the reporting time are weighted more heavily. Report cards reflect the students' skills at the time it is sent home.
  • Students have multiple opportunities to show mastery.
  • Behaviors (turning in homework, bringing in tissues, etc.) are not part of grades.

Reflecting and Moving Forward

Where do we go from here? How can we build classrooms that reward students for mastery and hard work. Teachers can teach and students can learn without grades. But how?


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