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    #223363 - 10/07/15 12:58 AM Opinions On "Standards Based Grading"?
    shifrbv Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 11/16/13
    Posts: 49
    Looking for opinions on this - replacing letter grades with "standards" such as S - Satisfactory, P - Progressing, N - Needs Improvement".

    This is a newer trend and we are just now seeing this showing up in our district.

    No more top performers ("straight A students"), everyone can retest until all are proficient?

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    #223366 - 10/07/15 03:42 AM Re: Opinions On "Standards Based Grading"? [Re: shifrbv]
    Nyaanyaa Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/25/15
    Posts: 64
    Can all students progress at their own pace? Is the depth of understanding properly documented; that is, does the documentation reflect the depth of understanding of individual students?

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    #223367 - 10/07/15 05:31 AM Re: Opinions On "Standards Based Grading"? [Re: shifrbv]
    polarbear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    Our school district did this in elementary - the gotcha for us was that we had teachers who would not mark a child at "satisfactory" (or whatever the top category was showing mastery) until 4th quarter simply because 4th quarter was when everyone was supposed to arrive at mastery, therefore they "had to leave room for growth".

    I think it could be ok depending on how it's used and, more importantly, are students allowed to progress at their own pace and does the documentation reflect the depth of understanding of the individual student, as Nyaanyaa points out. I'm personally not all that much a fan of the letter system after parenting two children who are all about the A.

    Best wishes,

    polarbear

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    #223369 - 10/07/15 05:38 AM Re: Opinions On "Standards Based Grading"? [Re: shifrbv]
    Thomas Percy Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/18/12
    Posts: 206
    Do you live where I live? Our local public system has recently changed to standard based system as well.

    I have to say I am not a fan. I think for early elementary it may not be as much of a problem. I do wonder whether some kids/parents will be in for a rude awakening in middle school.

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    #223370 - 10/07/15 05:38 AM Re: Opinions On "Standards Based Grading"? [Re: shifrbv]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4293
    There are a number of old threads which have discussed standards based grading and related means of assigning grades, including
    - grading based on subjective expectations for a given child,
    - selective redo opportunities,
    - subjective grading based on a teacher's expectation for that student (not based on a standard or rubric which allows comparison amongst students),
    - level of mastery for testing out,
    - Competency Based Education (CBE), based on achieving mastery, regardless of number of repetitions or length of time required, which may tend to make all accomplishments seem indistinguishably the same among students of the same chronological age,
    - differentiated task demands,
    - differentiation in task demands -vs- variability in work products produced.

    Because such grading practices in the above roundup make all students appear to have achieved the same outcomes, some may wrongly infer that all students are performing at the same level. With student grades (from preschool on) permanently stored in statewide longitudinal data systems, the grades assigned may have lasting impact. Grades which are contrived to show equal outcomes by all students may:
    - inaccurately represent student growth and progress,
    - skew GPAs and class rank,
    - influence college admissions,
    - demotivate gifted students,
    - give an inflated sense of accomplishment to students assigned an "A" grade for lower levels of work.
    Some may say the widespread adoption of such grading practices by US public schools, combined with data collection P-20, changes these classrooms into a taxpayer-funded lab for studying the results of these practices upon our children.

    Related posts:
    - list of grading practices
    - policies which lack transparency

    By contrast, grading practices often used to consist of a set of:
    - pre-test grades, reflecting prior knowledge or inbound knowledge,
    - formative grades, reflecting uptake of the material whilst one was working through the course,
    - summative grades or post-test grades, reflecting retained knowledge or outbound knowledge at the end of the course.


    Studies such as the NWEA - Fordham Do High Flyers Maintain Their Altitude? (Sept 2011), indicate that some students may become "descenders" within a given one-third of their class. Unfortunately, this may inspire some schools to seek strategies to intentionally create "descenders," in order to close gaps and achieve equal outcomes. Expanded post on Grading practices.


    Grading practices and grades recorded for earlier educational levels provide honest or less-insightful feedback to students.
    Recorded grades also signal performance level to teachers, schools, institutions, programs.
    Recorded grades provide input to research studies.
    By these various means, grading practices impact college readiness, college acceptance, college grade inflation/deflation, and ultimately even the value of degrees conferred.

    Unfortunately, concerned parents are not the only members/readers of this forum. It is my understanding that this forum is also frequented by personnel from schools/districts looking to perpetrate this type of disservice toward top pupils in order to cap the growth of students at the top and thereby close gaps... achieving equal outcomes.

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    #223433 - 10/08/15 09:33 AM Re: Opinions On "Standards Based Grading"? [Re: shifrbv]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Originally Posted By: shifrbv
    Looking for opinions on this - replacing letter grades with "standards" such as S - Satisfactory, P - Progressing, N - Needs Improvement".

    This is a newer trend and we are just now seeing this showing up in our district.

    No more top performers ("straight A students"), everyone can retest until all are proficient?






    Well, NO, actually-- this grading was extremely common in primary through at least the mid 1980's. All of my 'report cards' from before 7th grade have exactly that notation on them.

    On the other hand, what IS new is continuous "re-evaluation" which is really a kind of shorthand for allowing all kids to reach 'benchmark' by the end of the marking period, no matter how they get there. There is another, darker side to some of those practices, too; in SOME cases, this means the exact same assessment is being given over and over-- yes, really. So "retaking" an assessment may become conflated with 'memorizing the right answers to THAT assessment' and not with "student has learned the concepts now, as demonstrated by a fresh assessment of the student's current level of understanding." (This distinction, by the way, is astonishingly difficult for some educators and administrators to grasp, believe it or not, but my DD definitely noted that this was a thing even as early as 7th-8th grade, and we refused to permit her to "retake" the same assessments for better grades, at least until it became obvious that school was "the game" and we were placing her on an uneven playing field next to peers who were more than happy to play it that way.)



    THAT practice, I must say, is not particularly healthy for gifties as it encourages perfectly hideous work habits (procrastination, much??) and may even encourage some pretty bad classroom behaviors if those children are spending much of that marking period bored out of their minds while their peers are learning the material.



    On the positive side, I can also see how this COULD stave off some of the worst elements of perfectionism in children who are prone to it already. Being grade-point junkies is best saved for late in secondary, IMO. I wish that my DD had never learned that "100%" was 'the best' grade-- at least not prior to high school.




    Edited by HowlerKarma (10/08/15 09:35 AM)
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #223452 - 10/08/15 03:40 PM Re: Opinions On "Standards Based Grading"? [Re: shifrbv]
    Marcy Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 07/13/15
    Posts: 34
    Standards based grading is horrible. It gives no feedback for a kid performing really well and honestly gives no feedback for a kid who is not performing well.

    Our school uses a 1-4 system of --

    1- I forget the term, but way below standards essentially
    2- approaching standards
    3- meets standards
    4- exceeds standards

    My profoundly gifted kid, who finished 1st grade reading at a 6th grade level and doing mutiplication/division/fractions/square roots received all 3's on his final report card. How that possibly described him as a student in any way is beyond me. I had a long, hissy email conversation with his (horrible) first grade teacher until I just gave it up as pointless.

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    #223453 - 10/08/15 03:42 PM Re: Opinions On "Standards Based Grading"? [Re: HowlerKarma]
    Marcy Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 07/13/15
    Posts: 34
    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
    Well, NO, actually-- this grading was extremely common in primary through at least the mid 1980's. All of my 'report cards' from before 7th grade have exactly that notation on them


    Granted my evidence is anecdotal, but I'm old and went to school all through the 70s and early 80s and I always got real grades.

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    #223454 - 10/08/15 04:30 PM Re: Opinions On "Standards Based Grading"? [Re: shifrbv]
    knute974 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/22/09
    Posts: 681
    Loc: controlled chaos
    Our school has been doing this at the elementary level for years. It seemed totally arbitrary what constituted a 3 versus a 4. I still remember my oldest, who is now in high school, arguing with her second grade teacher that she deserved a "4" in independent reading. DD was reading multiple books a week that were significantly above grade level. She asked her teacher, "How could I possibly get any more independent or read at a higher level?" The teacher said with a straight face that all of the kids in the class were doing the same thing so everyone got a "3" no exceptions. Ugh!

    In middle school it seemed to be used selectively to give kids the chance to bring their grade up if they bombed a big assignment or a big test. I actually like this approach since middle school grades don't count in the grand scheme of things and you want to make sure that the kids get the concepts.

    In high school, it's grades only all the way.


    Edited by knute974 (10/08/15 04:31 PM)

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    #223457 - 10/08/15 05:11 PM Re: Opinions On "Standards Based Grading"? [Re: shifrbv]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3290
    Loc: California
    My elementary school (70s) used a combination of 1-4, with 1 being "great job" and 4 being "fail," and Exceeds/Meets/Doesn't meet standards, depending on the subject. Academic subjects got 1-4, with handwriting, participation, behavior, and a long list of other things that were mostly soft skills in the other group.

    We got traditional letter grades in junior high and percentages in high school (80s), with a scale to convert to A, B, etc. My high school's cutoff for an A was 93%.

    Originally Posted By: Marcy

    My profoundly gifted kid, who finished 1st grade reading at a 6th grade level and doing mutiplication/division/fractions/square roots received all 3's on his final report card. How that possibly described him as a student in any way is beyond me. I had a long, hissy email conversation with his (horrible) first grade teacher until I just gave it up as pointless.


    Let me guess: he didn't do all possible first grade stuff, followed by getting everything right on some large portion of second grade stuff, and therefore she has no way of knowing if he'd truly surpassed first grade expectations. Because, some things are just unknown?

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