How I (currently) do Standards-Based Grading
  • Each unit is broken down into 5-8 concepts (sample unit from algebra 2)
  • Each concept is worth 8 points:
    • 8: Full understanding, no/minor mistake
    • 7: Solid understanding with small misconceptions, minor mistakes
    • 6: Demonstrated understanding of core idea, significant mistakes
    • 4: Not yet
Our school breaks down grades to 80% summative and 20% formative, so I had to figure out a way to make this fit with the school. Through some thoughtful discussions with a colleague, we now enter every concept as both a formative and a summative, both of which are scored on the eight point scale.

Formatives are typically assessed with exit slips (usually something like this). A given concept may be assessed multiple times, but only the most recent stays in the gradebook. Reassessments are quite informal - come see me during lunch, I'll help you, and I'll update your score based on my evaluation of your progress.

Summative scores come from our unit tests. Maybe these will go away some day, but our department isn't there yet. Summatives may also be reassessed, but this is more formal - students must show me evidence of their learning before they are allowed to sign up for the reassessment.

I decided to try SBG my first year of teaching because I used to get a sick feeling in my stomach giving and discussing grades that I had a hard time interpreting and using. I think that the way we assess should be diagnostic - that is, after an assessment, I should be able to tell you precisely what you do well and what you need to work on.

I also find SBG exciting. It really binds assessment to good teaching, and I'm finding it is improving my ability to write and plan good lessons and units. See one of my early posts, Making assessment part of teaching.