Standards Based Grading Issues & Solutions

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Our middle school implemented a standards based grading system this year for the first time. Yup, we were the guinea pigs.

One of the major issues with this system is, you guessed it ... Grading.

I've been lucky enough to have a co-teacher who is willing to share her log in so that I can access gradebook (apparently learning specialists don't get this awesome privilege). Thus, there are some things we realized that didn't quite make sense.

  1. Student Effort - "I can always retake it if I fail" became "I didn't study, I'm bombing it so I can retake it."
  2. No Zeros - We had a system where we entered Zeros to indicate the assessment was missing, but once progress reports came by, we had to change it to 50s. Thus, we never knew who was missing what.
  3. Retake Grades - How do we know if a student had retaken an assessment if they scored below 60 twice?
So we devised a plan on how to fix the Zeros and Retake grades first. 
  • 50 = It is missing.
    51 = You need to retake this.
  • Assessments can only be retaken within a week of receiving the graded version.
  • After progress reports/ the 5 week mark, anything that was from those previous 5 weeks is FINAL. Sorry, not sorry.
  • No class time for retakes.
Now came the student effort bit. This took quite some time, as we kept asking admins, other teachers, TeachersPayTeachers, Pinterest, Google, etc. No reasonable answer came until one of our team members happened to find a "Request to Retake" form. 

*cue fog clearing, lots of nature coming through, all that happy goodness.

Now, you already know I decided to make it my own...
So here's what I came up with ... 

Yup, we made them reflect before they retook their assessments. In addition, we no longer REPLACED their grades with the new grade, we are now averaging it out with their original. Thus, they had some accountability for their original grade. Parents now had to be in the loop - no more last minute parent phone calls, texts, or emails during that week before grades are due. 

We simply printed these out, put them in a folder, directed students how the system works and where to find these sheets, and we set them loose. So far, Quarter Three is looking to be much more organized than the last two quarters.

I sent it off to the team members to edit as they please, and now it's implemented across the entire middle school.

The best part? This is available on my TeachersPayTeachers site. Enjoy!


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