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Why shift from a points based system to a Standards-Based Grading system? Follow along as Kim explains the pivotal shift to reducing student failure rates.

Hi! My name is Kim Strobel with Strobel Education and I work with schools all across the country on implementing Standards-Based Grading and this is one of my favorite books. You know – why should we change our grading practices? That’s the question – why do we need to change from where we are with a point system to a Standards-Based Grading system

Well I love what Douglas Reeves said. He said, “If you wanted to make one change that would immediately reduce student failure rates, then the most effective place to start would be challenging prevailing grading practices; and the most effective grading practices provide accurate, specific, and timely feedback designed to improve student performance.” 

Now what should a grade represent right; because there are so many things that really do cloud or muddy the waters when it comes to grading. And so Rick Wormeli says a grade is supposed to provide an accurate undiluted indicator of a student’s mastery of learning standards. Right? It’s not meant to be part of a reward and motivation or behavioral contract system, and we have to make really sure that we’re not distorting the academic grade with nonacademic factors. 

So what we know from the research is that more than a third of all teachers believe that grades can serve as meaningful punishment despite all the evidence that shows this is wrong. There’s also a lot of research that shows that there’s very little relationship between the grade a teacher gives and whether or not the student is actually showing proficiency. And so what we know is that many times a teacher who teaches the exact same subject or course at the exact same grade level within the same school often consider very different criteria when assigning grades to student performance.

Let me give you one example of this. When I was a fourth grade teacher, my other fourth grade teacher and I always taught the exact same novels and we always gave assessments after every five chapters, but my assessments looked very different from his. On my assessments I was giving all very kind of challenging essay type questions like constructed response questions. On the other hand he was giving 25 multiple choice questions. The issue is that we were both teaching the exact same chapter book and we were both giving students assessments after every five chapters, but my assessment included only the difficult more constructed response type questions and his were more recall in multiple choice.

The issue is that we were both wrong. Right? The students in my class who maybe did know some of the simpler pieces of the text never got a chance to demonstrate it on my more challenging assessment, and the students in his class were only showing that they were proficient in recall which meant the grades were very different. An  “A” in my class and an “A” in his class were completely different. 

And what we know is that this is just what teachers do. They’re doing the best they can but we don’t really have a measuring stick that means that an inch in one classroom stays an inch in another classroom and this is exactly where Standards-Based Grading comes in to help. 

And so this is why I’m very passionate about implementing Standards-Based Grading in a system and understanding all of the pieces that fit so that we actually are providing a grade that is accurate, right. That has feedback that is timely and that is very specific, so that we know exactly where a student is in their learning progression towards mastering that particular standard.

If you want to learn more you can click below and check out one of our online courses or feel free to send me a message if this is something that maybe you’re thinking of implementing in your schools.

Standards-Based Grading - Online Course

This online course delves into the benefits of Standards-Based Grading, offering practical strategies for implementing this system in the classroom to provide more accurate and informative feedback to students on their progress and achievement.

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