Modified Standards Based Grading: Thinking Out Loud

I like Standards Based Grading, but I want to improve upon my system. SBG has completely affected the culture in my classes and how I plan and teach and even how I interact with my students. This is my 4th year using some form of SBG. My dilemma is that all standards are weighted equally, but in reality they are not. I don’t want a student passing algebra 1 if they cannot solve multi-step equations or graph a line, even if they are proficient at other standards. To me, these are non negotiable basic algebra skills and the student would be set up for failure if they did not demonstrate proficiency at these. Currently, students still play the points game, albeit not as much as under a traditional grading system, but they learn that they can score below proficient at a skill or two every grading period and still pass.

My first thought was to switch from a 1-4 scale to the binary system, but this wouldn’t change, and may even encourage the “its ok to not be proficient in everything” game.

I want to set up a system where I can tell students that to score a C (minimum passing at my school) you must be really know these learning targets, If you want a B, then you need these too…etc… Scoring on a binary scale. I would assess the “C” targets most frequently, the B a little less often, and the A targets on occasion.

I am not clear in my mind on how this would play out with students, or how I would manipulate my district mandated traditional online gradebook, but I would love thoughts at this point so that I can keep developing a better grading system.


2 thoughts on “Modified Standards Based Grading: Thinking Out Loud

  1. I appreciate your thoughts. I have been trying a modified version, in which I am using SBAC claims as my assessment categories: Communicating Reasoning, Procedures and Skills, Application and Problem Solving and I added a Graphing Category. The Procedures category is weighted most heavily. Its complicated. I tried making it so that a student could not pass the class if they had an average score of below 60% in any of the 4 categories. However, the grades in the online gradebook don’t reflect that piece. Students and parents were confused about their grade because the gradebook might say that they have a C, but they are failing two categories so therefore they actually have a D. I teach Algebra 2 and I agree there are some non-negotiable standards that students should meet in order to pass the class. The online gradebooks really limit our ability to do this.

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