One of the first things that I had to do when I decided to do standards based grading was to develop a grading policy that would explain to students and their parents how I was going to grade and why I was doing it differently than all the other teachers in the building. To go through this process, I relied heavily on the works of Rick Wormeli and Robert Marzano, but I also wanted to make sure that the policy I developed reflected my own personality, goals, and strengths as a teacher. What follows is my grading policy as presented to my students and parents in the syllabus (note: SIS is our online gradebook system):
I believe that grades should tell a story of achievement and mastery. They should be a reflection of what a student has learned and what a student can do. The following guidelines will inform grades in this class:
- Entries in the grade book that count towards the final grade will be limited to course or grade level standards.
- These entries will stay the same throughout the year. Each quarter, the complexity of the work on each standard will increase, leading to a high level of proficiency by the end of the school year.
- Each entry in the gradebook will be marked from a 0-4. A 4 indicates that an advanced level of mastery has been attained. A 3 indicates a proficient level of mastery. A 2 indicates a student that is approaching proficiency for that standard. And, a 1 indicates a still emerging knowledge of that standard. If there is a blank standard or a 0, it would indicate that I don’t have enough evidence to make that determination yet.
- Mastery of standards will be determined by in class assessments and projects. These assessments and projects will usually be scored using a rubric that students will have access to during the whole process. Students will know what is expected of them and what mastery looks like.
- Because grades are based on mastery of concepts, not points attained, students must complete every assessment or project in order to get a grade for the course.
- Because of the limitations of the SIS system, student assessment and project scores will be aggregated on a Google spreadsheet that parents and students will have access to. SIS will only show the current level of performance on each standard. I would encourage you to track student progress on both the spreadsheet and on SIS. SIS and the Google spreadsheet will be updated by Monday morning each week.
- The final score for each standard will be determined by taking the mode (or the most frequently occurring) of all the data points.
- There will not be any extra credit available in this class.
Late Work and Retakes
Because of the nature of the grading system, late work and retakes will be allowed in this course under the following conditions:
- Students who miss work because of absences will be eligible to turn in their work when they return. They simply need to speak with me when they come back to make arrangements.
- Students wanting to turn in work late, retake an assessment, or redo a project must first fill out a “Request to Reassess” form available in my classroom. This form will require them to state the reasons for wanting to reassess or turn in the assignment late, what their plan is for mastering the standards before completing the assessment, how they will show evidence that they have completed their plan, and what deadlines they will meet during the reassessment process.
- The “Request to Reassess” form needs to be reviewed and accepted by me before any late work or retakes will be accepted. I may ask the student to revise their plan before accepting the request.
- Late work or retakes may be different than the original assignment at the teacher’s discretion. Any quizzes or tests will definitely be different. Most projects will not.
- Late work and retakes will not be accepted the last week of the quarter.
- All late work and retakes will be accepted for full credit as long as the above criteria are met.
Because all scores are based on competency and between 0-4, the grading scale looks a little different. In SIS, the standards scores will be averaged and converted into a percentage. The percentage will determine the final grade based on the following scale: