Q- Why are we changing the way we grade?
A- Research shows that standards based grading helps to raise student achievement by clearly communicating students’ progress toward learning targets.
“By comparing one child’s performance to a clear standard, parents, children and teachers all know precisely what is expected. Every time a student attempts a task, the performance is compared to the standard, not to other children’s performances. The most important advantages for children and families are fairness, clarity, and improved learning.”
Doug Reeves (101 Questions and Answers about Standards, Assessment, and Accountability, 2004)
Q - What is a learning target?
A - A target is another term for a standard. Our math curriculum is aligned to state standards. We have decided to use the term “target” because it is student friendly and shows that students that this is what they are aiming for. Each day the teacher will communicate the target for that day’s lesson to the students. We are hoping that having clearly defined targets will help students to take responsibility for their learning and also make it easier for parents to be partners in their learning.
Q - Why won’t my child get an overall grade on each test?
A- We are providing more information to you and your child by indicating exactly what learning targets he/she has or has not mastered. A percentage or letter grade is an accumulation of points; it does not provide the detailed information that our new cover sheets will provide. Your child will get a score on each learning target.
Q - On the progress report, the scale is a 1-4. What opportunities will be provided for my child to show that they are a “4”?
A- Our math teachers are considering a “4” student as one who demonstrates “advanced proficiency”. That means that they have mastered the targets and show evidence of higher level thinking. Each chapter or topic test will have at least 2 questions that assess higher level thinking. Class discussions and other class work will also give teachers an indication if a student is making connections, analyzing and/or applying what they learned to real life situations, which are all indications of higher level thinking.
Q - What do the numbers mean?
A – All topics within a strand are taken into account to arrive at a number (1-4) that best represents your child’s progress.
This is what our numbers mean for math.
"4" means "demonstrates advanced proficiency"
On a particular strand, the child has mastered the targets and is able to demonstrate higher level thinking. For example, if a student can communicate the essential understandings of a topic and completes the problems correctly, he/she would get a "4." An open ended question on an assessment is one way for a teacher to determine if a student gets a "4."
"3" means "demonstrates proficiency".
On a particular strand, the child has proven that they have reached the targets most of the time. A "3" may mean that a student makes few mistakes, but understands the concepts OR they may get all problems correct, but does not yet demonstrate the higher level thinking necessary for a “4”.
"2" means "demonstrates developing proficiency"
On a particular strand, the child has understanding of the simpler processes, but not the more complex concepts.
"1" means "demonstrates beginning proficiency"
On a particular strand, the child has little understanding of even the simpler processes.
Here is a student friendly rubric for individual targets:
4.0 - I know (can do) it well enough to make connections, apply to new situations, and be able to communicate the idea to others.
3.0 - I know (can do) everything that was taught without making mistakes.
2.0 - I know (can do) all the easy parts, but I don’t know (can’t do) the harder parts.
Q -If my child does poorly on a quiz or on other class assessments, but then proves he/she understands the target on a chapter test, will the scores be averaged together?
A – No. In standards based grading, the quiz and other assessments are used as practice towards hitting the target. Students are not penalized for taking longer to learn a standard. The most recent evidence will be used.
Q- How does homework count towards my child’s grade?
3 (proficient) 26-30 correct
2 (approaching proficiency) 15-25 correct
1 (below proficiency) less than 15 correct