Standards Based Grading// Part 1: The Grading Scale

Standards Based Grading... it's all the craze in the land of education. But for me, it has saved my sanity and my test scores. Watching students take control of their own learning is awesome! The hardest part really is just getting started. Cliche, but true! There are tons of great resources out there on standards based grading (SBG). Like this post and this one and this one. But let's just talk about a grading scale for now.

It is so, so important to find a grading scale and/or rubric that best suits the needs of you and your students. A few years ago, I was trying to grade a student's proficiency on a learning target with a 0-10 scale. Can you say MISERABLE? It made grading assessments time consuming and it was so hard to tell the difference between an 8 and a 9. So last year, I moved to a 0-5 scale and there will be no turning back! Here is the student friendly version of what each score means in terms of actually understanding and demonstrating proficiency on all of our learning targets. Mine is very similar to the one used in the posts mentioned above, with a few differences.

The easiest scores to give for me are 0's and 5's. They left the question blank? 0. They got the question(s) completely right the first time? 5. The only way students can receive a 5/5 on a learning target in my class is by getting it right the first time. I catch some grief every now and then on how "it's not fair that they can't recover a target up to a 5/5". But after a few questions on how much they studied before the test or asked for help in class, the whining subsides. As for a score of 1 to 4, use your best judgement. After all, you are the teacher. :)

Do you use SBG in your classroom? Have you seen great results? We'd love to see the grading scales you use!

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