Teachers who SBG—Join Them!

standards based learning blogs

Standards-based grading (SBG) is the new approach to grading that focuses on learning goals rather than overall average grade. Are you a teacher on the fence about standards-based grading? I’ve rounded up a few blog posts from teachers practicing SBG in hopes you’ll join us on the standards-based side of things. They discuss what’s working, the atmosphere, and things to keep in mind when transitioning.

Like anything that’s worth the time, it requires some effort in a beginning until things become systematic. Take a look at these teachers of SBG classrooms to learn how you could start standards-based grading in your classroom.

Think Thank Thunk by Shawn Cornally

Shawn Cornally is the headmaster and STEM teacher at a competency-based high school in Iowa. In his post on January 14, he discusses points of contention among parents for standards-based grading. The truth is, there are plenty of people who oppose standards-based grading and Mr. Cornally shares a heads-up roadmap from his experiences; a what to expect when SBG, if you will:

Let’s agree that we’re not all experts in everything. I don’t have any delusions of being able to set a broken arm or of being able to parse a land title, so please allow educators the latitude that there may be some unintuitive methods to their craft. Also, let’s put the work-school analogies to bed. If schools were operated like businesses, we’d fire all of the needy students.

Science Education on the Edge by Chris Ludwig

This blog is about “experimenting with a student-centered science education, by a science teacher at La Junta High School and Otero Junior College in Colorado. Chris Ludwig includes a how-to guide on how to get started as well as how he uses blogs and portfolios to assess students. He’s got a great voice too:

If you’ve drunk even a little bit of the SBG kool-aid you’ll know that the lofty goals of grading and assessment reform can be stated something like this:

  • have students show what they really know and can do
  • make learning rather than grades the focus
  • if you have to produce a “grade,” reform your grade book to reflect learning, not compliance/completion
  • ditch points-based, averaging nonsense and banish “zeros” since neither concept helps describe what a student knows and can do
  • since grades reflect learning, allow reassessments to show new understanding of concepts

If these sound like ideas you can get behind, read on. If you like your current, points-based system, read on too, because you’ll feel justified in a little bit.

Some Become Pearls by Andrea Burton

Another personality filled blog by an enthusiastic teacher. Ms. Burton has an entire tab devoted to standards-based grading with her approach to logistics, the grade books, and concepts & alignment. And fun fact, she’s got a thing for Dan Meyer:

Then I started stalking found Dan Meyer and developed a huge crush Are you single? and all of a sudden I knew what I wanted my classroom to look like.

Action-Reaction by Frank Noschese

Mr. Noschese is a physics teacher at John Jay high school in New York. He’s another one of those star bloggers who also has a tab devoted to standards-based grading. In his blog about keeping it simple, he addresses the “retaking” issue by suggesting no student-initiated reassessments:

No student-initiated reassessments. WHY: This actually wasn’t my rule, but I was lucky if these students showed up to class in the first place. No one came to extra help or during a free period to reassess. So I just put the most missed standards on subsequent quizzes. It worked out fine and I didn’t have kids hounding me for reassessments when the term ended. Keep it simple.

Yearning 2 Learn by Rik Rowe

Last but not least is the blog by our friend Rik Rowe. We met Rik at our first Gradeable Social and were blown away by his enthusiasm for engaging, standards-based learning. He co-moderates #SBLchat on Wednesday nights and teaches math at a high school in Massachusetts. He is very active on Twitter and always sharing his trials, tribulations, and insights on the standards-based approach. Most recently, he shared his memorable moments from a teach camp he attended in Madison Wisconsin. Here’s a snippet:

Let’s always record a student’s most recent evidence of proficiency and stop averaging prior to proficient practice with recent learning. We want all students to find their highest level of proficiency.

Looking for more standards-based learning support? Check us out at www.gradeable.com or say hello at hello@gradeable.com! 

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