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Standards-Based Grading


Standards-based grading (SBG) is an innovation in education that focuses on learning and helps increase achievement. It is often combined with updated instructional practices and culture to better engage students and foster a positive environment. This page is an introduction for parents and educators new to standards-based education.

Video 1: What is Standards-Based Grading?

Robert Marzano states, “Grades are so imprecise, they are almost meaningless.”

In this video we cover:

  • System of assessing and reporting that describes a student’s progress in relation to the standards.
  • When a student demonstrates competency of standards, they move on to more challenging standards.
  • Grades are growth-based and clearly communicate levels of performance for the standards they are working on. 

Video 2: Why Standards-Based Grading?

Douglas Reeves states, “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.”

In this video we cover:

  • Accurate, specific and timely feedback designed to improve student performance.
  • The relationship between a grade and student proficiency.
  • Clarifying the criteria used to assign grades to students.

Video 3: Three Problems with the Current Grading System

  1. Problem 1: An unbalanced range of scores.
  2. Problem 2: The meaning of a test score.
  3. Problem 3: The penalties of averaging grades.

Video 4: Prioritizing Standards

There are more standards than can be taught to mastery in the instruction time available. What does it mean to have a priority standard? How does that impact planning?

Video 5: Creating Proficiency Scales

Scales articulate learning progressions for each priority standard. How do scales work with standards? How do scales help students? How do scales help with common assessments and expectations for student learning?

Video 6: Aligning Assessments

The primary purpose of classroom assessment is to inform teaching and improve learning, not to sort and select students or to justify a grade. In this video, we cover three principals of effective assessment design and alignment.

Need help implementing Standards-Based Grading Campus/District-Wide?

Strobel Education offers the full spectrum of support services for Standards-Based Grading - from online professional learning courses to virtual trainings to multiyear implementation support.

Contact us to request a free consultation with Kim Strobel to discuss your school or district's specific needs.