Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Standards Based Grading

I've only ever used standards based grading as a teacher, and I don't know how I would go back to the traditional grading I experienced as a student.

Making math classes standards-based seems easier than other content areas, (according to what I hear from co-workers). Our school uses 2 assignments per outcome (our vernacular for "standard"), 10 outcomes per term. Outcomes over the trimesters are numbered 1-30, to remind students that math builds on prior knowledge. Passing a term requires passing 7 outcomes, each with at least 70%.  (Yes, I've done the math and know this means students can pass knowing only 49% of the material. Also, students can pass the state tests with a raw score of 39% in the same course content. Maybe there's too much to cover? I'm torn about this.)

Students understand that if they achieve mastery in an outcome, they know how to do what the outcome says. Each lesson, each exit ticket is printed with the corresponding outcome in the heading. The two weighted assignments are a quiz and project for each outcome. The "project" is often a complex problem, sometimes a packet, and too seldom, a true project. (However, I would like to get students making media for our online classroom, and that's a project idea we could use.)

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