Christine on Standards Based Grading

A few weeks ago Christine wrote this. It bears repeating:
I really like standards-based grading for the following reasons:  (1) it allows students/parents/me/etc. to see what skill the kids gets and doesn’t get–and not just “I’m good at this” or “I suck at this.”  (2) Because you have a clearer understanding of a student’s strengths/weaknesses, you can address it and provide more useful and effective help to your students.  (3) It’s more encouraging to the kids who aren’t as good because they can see what they’re good at.  “Susie, you’re really struggling with this reading, but I love the way you listen…look, you have a 91% in that category!”  (4) It focuses on skills and not on effort.  I really struggled giving kids a lower participation score because I liked them as people and came to realize each student was giving about the best effort s/he could muster.  Each kid has his or her own story, and I respect that some kids come in more mature/prepared than others…and a lot of the time, it’s not really that kid’s fault s/he is unprepared.  Now, I don’t have to even attempt to go there.  If Johnny isn’t participating in class, most likely, his quiz scores will go down and he’ll be able to see a direct correlation between participating and getting good grades.  (5) We don’t ding kids twice (or more often!) for not doing their work.  Under a traditional method, Johnny–the non-participator–would get points taken off for not doing his work, not participating, and for not doing well on the quizzes/tests.  Now, only quizzes/tests are taking the hit.  Sure, we want him to do better, but now he has more of an opportunity to raise his grade since we’re not sinking him on 2 or 3 different sides. (6) It reminds me to provide well-rounded teaching.  We all have things we’re good at and like teaching.  Seeing the skills laid out like that reminds me I need to hit all of those skills multiple times instead of focusing on one or two and sprinkling the others in at will.  (7) Because you’re only assessing one skill at a time, it’s easier to evaluate how you’re doing on teaching something.  There were several times last year when I was grading and realizing how many kids missed a particular thing…which meant it was my fault for not presenting it in a better fashion.  These mistakes became more obvious to me.  (8) Using Scott’s rubrics and standards-based grading has simplified and quantified my grading more than I ever could on my own.



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