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What is Standards Based Grading? 

Standards-based grading (SBG) is an intentional way for teachers to track their students' progress and achievements while focusing on helping students learn and reach their highest potential. It is based on students showing signs of mastery or understanding various lessons and skills. In fact, many districts across the country have embraced the idea for decades. Standards-based grading is a way to view student progress based on proficiency levels for identified standards rather than relying on a holistic representation as the sole measure of achievement—or what Marzano and Heflebower called an “omnibus grade.”

Standards-based grading is often contrasted with a more traditional approach to grading and assessment. Instead of the all-or-nothing, percentages-and-letter-grades approach, standards-based approaches consider evidence of learning and the data it produces in different ways.

- Lauren Davis: EdTech Editor, Former Department Chair and Instructional Coach

What does this mean for Tipton Middle School? 

A few teachers at Tipton Middle School are investigating a set of proven instructional strategies to provide more meaningful feedback for our students. We believe our grading practices should reflect our students’ understandings of targeted learning goals and the students’ ability to apply these understandings in practical situations. For many students and parents these practices are unfamiliar, so here’s a brief explanation of the grading practices in our classrooms . . .

  1. Student grades are based upon demonstrated mastery of specific learning goals.
  2. Grades reflect only the product of student learning and are not affected by feedback given during the learning process, therefore: 
    1. 100 percent of student grades are determined by assessment performance.
    2. The overall grade will not include completion, compliance, attendance, behavior, extra credit, preparation, or practice, but these will be monitored. Some of these categories may be reported separately as they may show reasons for what is happening in the student’s assessment performance, but they will not figure into a student’s grade.
  3. Assessments are organized by standard and each standard will receive a separate score to help students, teachers, and parents focus on specific areas that need attention.
  4. The mastery level of each standard in the gradebook will be determined through a decaying average. This means that more recent scores will be worth more than scores from earlier in the year. This will give us a better representation of the student’s current mastery of the material and will lessen the penalty for earlier mistakes and misunderstandings.
  5. If a student has not shown mastery of a standard during the course’s regular assessments, he or she can still request additional assessments, or “Reassessment”. These reassessments are provided at the teacher’s discretion and will require evidence that the student has worked at improving his or her understanding of the standard. Multiple reassessments may be provided if the student is truly invested in improving mastery.
  6. Students who are not happy with their current mastery level of a standard are encouraged to continue to practice and learn the standards. Material will be organized in Google Classroom’s Classwork tab by standard. 

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