Friday, April 27, 2018

Building a Flexible Standards-Based Classroom within a Traditional School Setting

Hi, I’m Bob. I’ve been using standards-based grading (SBG) within a traditional grading setting for five years. I’ve done it at two schools, in two different environments. I’ve also worked with a grade-level team to make the transition. However, in every environment I've been in, I'm either the only or one of the only teachers to use SBG. As a result, I've had to bend some of the "rules" of SBG. I like this quote from Frank Noschese:

A traditional system done in the spirit of SBG is much, much better than an SBG system done poorly.

There are some great resources for making a whole school shift to standards based, but this is not one of them. These resources are aimed at teachers who want the benefits of standards based grading, but who work within a traditional grading system.

What do I mean by a traditional school? I mean a school where...

...grading software allows for points, or maybe category weights. No standards.
...assessments are named in general topics like “Quadratics”, points are assigned to each question, and the student gets one score on the top
...most assignments are viewed out of 100% (students will rush to a calculator to find out that 5/7 =  is)
...the end of the year grade is either out of 100, or A/B/C/D/F, and a GPA is used
...classes are tracked, and perhaps GPA is based on those tracks (honors student can get a higher GPA)
...it is encouraged that certain behaviors (homework completion, participation) are scored by completion
...there is no scholarship or participation grade separate from the letter grade
...most stakeholders want to see lots of grades in the grade book and don’t want you waiting for a summative to put in a grade
...textbooks and worksheets are used often

So, how do I work around these constraints? Click below to find out!

Norm your personal philosophy of grading

Focus on assessing concepts with content standards (coming soon)

Push students to work like mathematicians with practice standards (coming soon)

Encourage good habits through reflection and scholarship standards

Give students multiple opportunities to practice

Encourage and facilitate growth (coming soon)

I begged, borrowed, and stole from a number of great people. Click below to read blog posts and articles from a number of talented and thoughtful people!

Frank Noschese
Matt Townsley
Dane Ehlert
Dan Meyer
John Stevens
Sam Shah
Matt Vaudrey
Dylan Kayne
Daniel Schneider
Bruce Jackson
Anna Blinstein
Marissa Walczak

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