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 and ELA11 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 Canvas 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 (8-pt ELA rubric for ELA11, MYP 8-pt rubric for ELA9, AP 6-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 4 on the 6 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 Canvas
    • Canvas Forum or Canvas 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 Canvas 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: Canvas 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%+
ELA 11

In all cases, successful assignments mean a 4 on the 8 point scale or 80% on other assignments unless otherwise indicated.

  • All major summative assignments will use one of the four ELA 11 SAT-oriented rubrics for the course. Students must demonstrate expertise in all of these areas of the rubric and through several forms of composition and reading analysis.

Major Standards

Reading:  

Demonstrate success on 3 areas of Reading Comprehension: one novel/play, two non-fiction/essay assignments, one poetry assignments, and one digital media reading.

Demonstrate an understanding of diction and how it produces meaning.

  • A formal written analysis or presentation or creative work (Project)
  • A collection of Canvas activities (quizzes and forums)

Composition:  

Demonstrate success on each of three composition assignments and in all four Rubric Areas in written assignments, in any combination, including the Writing Process:

  • Composition Assignments:
      • Academic works (written essays, prepared speeches)
      • Creative works (poems, stories, other artistic projects)
      • Presentations (live, podcast, video, etc.)
      • Impromptu Writing (SAT prompt)
  • Rubric Areas:
      • Focus and Organization
      • Details and Support
      • Analysis and Commentary
      • Control of Language

Speaking and Listening:  

Demonstrate success in Collaborative Discussion exercises on at least 3 different occasions.

  • Formal class discussion activities
  • Canvas forums
  • Podcasts
  • Group presentations

Figurative Language and Professional Vocabulary:  

Demonstrate success in the composition of figurative language and professional vocabulary through:

  • Any of the above formal activities
  • Creative projects
  • Communications through the semester

Projects:

This is a broad term we use for major assignments that hit the Major Standards above. Each Project can succeed at demonstrating several different Standards.

There are also several project options through the year in terms of podcast creation, newsletter production, and other publications.

 

(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 Canvas
    • Canvas Forum or Canvas 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 Canvas chapter, at least one Project should be completed. That project can be found on Canvas, through independent reading works, from class assignments, or self-designed.

 

How Canvas will work differently:
  • Major Assignments will be connected to the Standards listed.
  • 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 Canvas 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 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 Canvas Works:
  • Canvas 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.”
  • Canvas has its own Gradebook that parents can see when their son/daughter logs in.
  • Each “chapter” of Canvas has approximately several assignments, the equivalent of about 15 mins/night for AP Lit and perhaps 30 mins/week for ELA11.  
  • For ELA11 in particular, a Project may be 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.