I was reading a blog that I follow today and came across one about standards-based grading. This is something I hadn’t heard of before, but is something that makes sense, well for the most part. The quick and dirty of standards-based grading is that students are assessed based on their performance on a stated course objective, rather than on their performance on an assignment or test. Homework, quizzes, and tests still have a major role in the classroom, but their importance for the final assessment is reduced. The basic idea is that homework should be completed unless the student feels they know the content/stated objective well enough to be considered proficient. Then a formal assessment of some kind can be administered to students once the teacher feels the students are ready.
I was wondering how this would change the classroom environment and I think there would be quite a bit of confusion at first, but once this type of grading was explained and implemented, I think there would be a better understanding of what the students are being assessed on and what they are really learning. The example in the blog I read was about the wrong usage of a – sign on a math test. There was ambiguity whether or not the student misinterpreted the need for the minus sign or if the student didn’t know the difference between the -x and -y axis. The student received partial credit since the majority of the problem was correct, but it remained unclear if the student really knew the objective. Standards-based grading would require the teacher to inquire where the student went wrong and address the uncertainty, where in a traditional grading system the uncertainty likely would not be addressed.
By no means am I an expert on standards-based grading, but it seems to make sense to me. I will definitely be looking into this more, but thought I would share this as we head into the summer so others can begin reflecting on some of these issues they face every year. Will anyone implement this? Hope so.
Here are links to the original blog and another article on standards-based grading: