Standards-Based Grading

The Why and How of It

Standards-Based vs. Traditional Grading

The goal is for students to focus their attention on their learning, not on assignments, points, or averages of scores.

Standards-based grading basically means that student grades are based on the successes they demonstrate, their achievements, in a range of ELA focus areas (standards). For ELA9 classes, these are obviously different forms of writing, speaking, reading, and even listening skills. For AP classes, May Exam preparation is added.

Here are some easy ways to think about it:

Traditional Grading
Standards-Based Grading
Grading is by “points” earned, with students doing extra-credit work to “make up” missed points.Grading is by success on ELA goals, with students working more on areas where they need improved skills, not on areas where they have already demonstrated success.
Grade is based on averages of scores, including failures.Grade is by success, where an A or B is earned when the student demonstrates the skill, regardless of the amount of time or number of attempts made.
Zeroes (“0”) negatively impact scores in drastic ways.Zeroes rarely exist except as markers that a student did not make an attempt at learning during an opportunity given.
Once a unit is done, whether or not a student learned it, the grade remains.While we have topical “units,” grades are based on the skills earned in writing and reading, regardless of what “unit” they are completed in.

There are several advantages to this approach:

  1. Students have multiple opportunities to demonstrate their learning
  2. They need not waste time repeating tasks they have already learned
  3. They can identify what areas of ELA they need to work on themselves and direct their own learning
  4. Failure cannot happen so long as a student does not quit in his/her efforts

How MiStar will work differently:

  • There are several Standards listed as assignments “due” at the end of a marking period.
  • Nearly all of the weight of a MiStar grade is on these final Standards.
  • As students fulfill each, grades will be added to those Standards columns.
  • Through the marking period, more traditional grades will appear as practice exercises and sometimes partial fulfillment of the Standards so parents can see student progress towards success.

Some other points:

  • Students should be able to keep track of their successes on a spreadsheet added to their Shared Folder on Google Drive (available in next few weeks)
  • Students will also advocate for their learning by providing evidence of what they’ve learned
  • A complete breakdown of assignment types to standards will follow soon

The goal is for students to focus their attention on their learning, not on assignments, points, or averages of scores.

 

Standards for Success

 

Each student must complete standards successfully according to the rubric for the class (MYP 8-pt rubric for ELA9, AP 9-pt rubric for AP Literature). These benchmarks are the approximate equivalent of a traditional A or B.  Assignments (especially larger projects) which do not fulfill that rubric may be revised/re-attempted, or the student may wait for another opportunity of plan one herself.

 

AP Literature

To score an A or B for the semester, all three major standards should be met: Reading, Writing, and Exam Preparation. Completing two of the minor standards enhances or reduces your semester mark by up to one letter grade. In all cases, successful assignments mean a 6 on the 9 point scale or 80% on other assignments unless otherwise indicated.

Major Standards

Reading:  

Demonstrate success on two novels and on poetry.

Novel Assignments:

  • *Formal analysis essay on the novel
  • Three of These:
    • Two comprehension quizzes from Moodle
    • Moodle Forum or Moodle Project on novel (can be triad project)
    • Q3 Impromptu on novel
    • Active discussion board posts (chisnell.com) or podcast on novel

Poetry:

  • *Poetry presentation
  • Three of These:
    • Formal analysis essay on poem (self-assigned)
    • Three Moodle Forums (Forms of Poetry, Author Studies)
    • Two Q1 Impromptu essays
    • Active discussion board posts (chisnell.com) or podcast on poetry

Writing:  

Demonstrate success on six writing assignments:

  • Two+ Formal Literary Analysis Assignments: Novels, Poems
  • Two+ Creative Writing Assignments: Moodle Projects (can be triad or faction work)
  • Two+ Impromptus of any kind

Exam Preparation:  

Demonstrate success on two novels and on poetry:

Any three of these:

  • Five Multiple Choice Practice Quizzes @ 75%
  • Four Impromptu essays of any kind
  • Class Discussion average of 85%+
  • Discussion Board (chisnell.com) average of 90%+
(Honors) ELA 9

 

In all cases, successful assignments mean a 5 (Reading) or 6 (Writing) on the 8 point scale or 80% on other assignments unless otherwise indicated.

  • Academic Works will use the MYP Analysis Rubric
  • Creative Works and Impromptus will use the MYP Producing Text Rubric.
  • Works with research will also use the MYP Organizing Rubric
  • All formal writings will also use the MYP Using Language Rubric

Major Standards

Reading:  

Demonstrate success on 8 Readings: one novel/play, two short story assignments, two poetry assignments, two non-fiction readings, and one digital media reading.

  • Formal written analysis or presentation or creative work (Project)
  • Two of These:
    • Two comprehension quizzes from Moodle
    • Moodle Forum or Moodle Project on novel (can be group project)
    • Impromptu essay
    • Reflection on reading, any format
    • Podcast on novel or other digital production or live presentation

Writing:  

Demonstrate success on each of four composition assignments and in all four Rubric Areas in written assignments, in any combination:

  • Composition Assignments:
      • Academic works (written essays, prepared speeches)
      • Creative works (poems, stories, other artistic projects)
      • Presentations (live, podcast, video, etc.)
      • Impromptu Writing (on any topic)
  • Rubric Areas:
      • Analysis (Academic works)
      • Organizing (Researched works)
      • Producing Text (Creative works and Impromptus)
      • Using Language (all written works)

Projects:

This is a broad term we use for major assignments that hit the Major Standards above. Each Moodle chapter, at least one Project should be completed. That project can be found on Moodle, through independent reading works, from class assignments, or self-designed.

 

How MiStar will work differently:
  • There are several Standards listed as assignments “due” at the end of a marking period.
  • Nearly all of the weight of a MiStar grade is on these final Standards.
  • As students fulfill each, grades will be added to those Standards columns.
  • Through the marking period, more traditional grades will appear as practice exercises and sometimes partial fulfillment of the Standards so parents can see student progress towards success.
  • A blank space on MiStar is NOT a zero.  It simply indicates that a student has not yet fulfilled that standard. A zero on a particular assignment does indicate that I expected to see an assignment by a due date but did not.
  • Since not all standards will be fulfilled by marking period, the semester grade will NOT be calculated as a 40%/40%/20%Exam split, as in traditional courses. Instead, students and parents should know the semester mark by the number of standards ultimately fulfilled.
Some other points:
  • There is no expectation that ALL standards will be fulfilled by marking period; there IS an expectation that ALL standards will be fulfilled by January.  This first marking period is primarily for learning fundamental skills and approaches to the course; the Major Standards Work will happen primarily through November and December with January a space for students to fill in with any assignments they missed.
  • Students (and parents) can keep track of successes on a spreadsheet added to their Shared Folder on Google Drive (HELA9 students are receiving this document now)
  • Students will also advocate for their learning (and even grades) by providing evidence of what they’ve learned
  • Students should keep all major assignments in their Google Drive Folder.
How Moodle Works:
  • Moodle is the online workspace for students to learn foundation skills and practice what they learn.  Think of it largely as the equivalent of a “Homework space.”
  • Scores for Moodle are updated every 1-2 weeks and are reported on MiStar as a mass grade representing all the many assignments students have worked on. Since students can do a wide variety of assignments, reporting these individually on MiStar is not practical; however, Moodle has its own Gradebook that parents can see when their son/daughter logs in.
  • Each “chapter” of Moodle has approximately 10-15 assignments, the equivalent of about 15 mins/night for AP Lit and perhaps 30 mins/week for HELA9.  
  • For HELA9 in particular, a chapter Project is assigned which can always fulfill 1-2 of the Major Standards for the course, in addition to more traditional assignments like essays and speeches, etc. For AP, sometimes combinations of assignments can demonstrate success on reading or writing standards.