Standards Based Grading (SBG) is hard…. and it’s easy. After using this system for a semester, here are a couple of mental notes I’ve taken:
1. Believe it or not, #1 is that I don’t have enough grades in the gradebook. I stand by Scott Benedict’s formula (2 entries per category per marking period, plus a test that covers each category) but truth be told I didn’t end up following it. I got too wrapped up in the glory of not grading every single paper to cross my desk. I also need to be better about knowing what my assessments are going to be before I start teaching.
2. To me, it is harder to distinguish the levels for quizzes when I create my own materials. For example, all of October I did monster lessons and I just did a Christmas one. When creating reading exercises, I should have created a clean easy 10 questions and make 1 of them a truly advanced question (either using vocabulary that hasn’t been used frequently or requires students to use deductive skills). I’m hoping this skill will become better with time!
3. Instead of having to deal with 10 or so failing students this semester, I have 4 out of about 90 students. This may seem a little high to you, but one student has literally “overslept” into 80% of our classes and my other two frequently miss class for varying reasons. I personally feel pretty good about this number!
4. The students who are most frustrated with this grading system are the quiet ones who are typically rewarded with As for their mute compliance. They’re often a Proficient level (think old-school B) because they’re not willing to take the risks and/or give the extra effort that the Advanced levels (old-school A) are willing to do.
5. That being said, I believe my grades genuinely reflect my students’ true capabilities.
6. Spanish 1 students easily accept the terms “Advanced, Proficient, etc.” instead of the traditional scale. My Spanish 3 and some of my Spanish 2s have a harder time with the switch.
7. While challenging to figure out, I wouldn’t go back to the old way of grading!