Before Standards Based Grading… I was miserable (maybe not miserable…) as I was teaching Algebra chapter by chapter with a test at the end of each unit. I saw kids have a fine grade all quarter, and then a test come up and their grade drop. I saw kids who did poorly on one test, and it affected their grade all quarter, semester, year… I saw kids be so stressed going into a test. I saw kids who could learn the material for the test, and then lose it a week later. These tests were also long… I teach squirrelly 7th and 8th graders… They also took me forever to grade, which meant I wasn’t getting quick information from these assessments. The grade was arbitrary based on a set of topics, and unless I really analyzed each test, I couldn’t tell you what they knew- just the grade on the entire “chapter” not a specific objective. My PLC was doing a really intensive Mastery program and I just couldn’t handle the paperwork for me as well as for the kids. It was impressive, but just not something I could get on board with. I was seeing kids get behind and never able to catch up because they had so much work they were doing. It seemed like a vicious cycle.
Then I started thinking… I started to remember my amazing professors talking about how a grade in a class is supposed to show what the students know. My kids grades didn’t show what they know, it showed what they knew. It showed what they knew that one time, and then how much homework they did to bring it up. It showed what they knew when the test happened. I was conflicted. I started doing these 5 question quizzes every day on review topics, recording the grades, and replacing the grades. The kids liked it and I liked it. I just wasn’t sure how I could scale it for the whole year.
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. Through sending my PLC a ton of links to Standards Based Grading sites, I talked them into it. I was always going to do it, but I am a big picture person. I like ideas, but sometimes I need help with the details.
Now I do a Standards Based Grading approach with my 7th & 8th graders for my Honors Algebra 1 course.
Originally posted: March 10th: Math Class Grading Policies