SBG: The Logistics

Disclaimers: I did not invent Standards Based Grading, I did not come up with this system 100% on my own, I was/am a huge advocate for it in classrooms, and I do love Dan Meyers. Also, this is all my opinion. I will site things when necessary so you know I am not just making things up. Check my other posts!


So you want to start doing Standards Based Grading… You’ve read about what it is, the benefits, and you now know what the infamous “concepts” are. Here’s the main points.

Each objective is called a “Concept” and is given a number.  For example, “Concept 38” is Linear Regression (Best Fit Lines).  Review Concepts from earlier in the year are given a letter, “Concept G” for example is Factoring.

Quizzing/Assessing happens a lot.  Quizzes happen about every other class (or s0). These are about 20-30 minutes long (class is 80 minutes) and address generally 3-5 concepts.  Most of the time the concept we learned the class before is on the quiz.  I am looking into clickers, or some online way to do this in the future…although I think doing it by hand is important. (Also, my kids do not use calculators!) Students are quizzed on each concept twice in class and we call them “Attempt #1” and “Attempt #2.”

Kids are given a schedule at the beginning of the quarter with what we are learning that quarter, when they are learning it, and when they are quizzed.  I find this really helps them see what is coming up, and when they need to learn material by for the first quiz.

Each concept is given a grade 0-5.  A ‘0’ means they left it blank, a ‘5’ is considered Mastered.  Students shoot for 4s and 5s, without any requirement from me.

Whatever grade is most recent is what counts for their grade. If they don’t have a 4 or 5 after the 2nd Attempt, they come in and take a requiz. My kids know that they shouldn’t take a requiz until they know they are going to get a 4 or 5.  Don’t waste either of our time!  They do these before school, during our homeroom/remediation time each morning, and during some spare time during class if we’ve got it.  I keep them in a binder (used to be a basket) with the original and the copies (they are all on 1/2 – 1/4 sheets of paper) in a page protector.  The kids don’t ask if they can take them, they just do.

Students come in for help- a lot!  Because the grades are more immediate, students know right away if they got it.  If kids need help, they look on my website (hesitant to post the link- should I?) for some links to websites that can reteach, activities for practice, or some extra notes.  They also work with each other, offering, “I’ll teach you 34 if you teach me 42.” We have time built into our schedule for remediation, so they also will come in for help, but I require that they have done something first before they ask me for help. They also must have the notes & homework done before I will help them.  It’s not that I don’t want to help them, but I want to make sure they have done their part.

Testing still occurs and this grade stays.  We do have cumulative tests every 4-5 weeks, but those are generally pretty short and honestly, my kids do awesome on them and are so prepared. We talk about how you should know how you are going to do on it before you take it.  There shouldn’t be any surprises. What is interesting is that the grade my students receive on the test is generally the score they currently have for concepts.  I love that!  Also, the kids can’t retake these, do test corrections, etc… I’ve considered requiring test corrections as a homework grade to make sure they really look at what they did wrong.

Their knowledge is their grade. A student’s grade is 50% Concept Grades (those 0-5 scores), 40% Test/Project Grades, and 10% Homework Completion.  There are on average 12 Concept Grades that go into each quarter- so 12 grades make up 50%… so each concept is worth about 4% of their grade.

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One Response to SBG: The Logistics

  1. Mrs. Howard says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. Your system makes SBG sound so doable. Where do you keep track of your concept grades? Do you use your school’s system or do you keep that 0-5 score in a separate system? If you use your school’s system, does it end up translating to a percentage score i.e. 5 = 100%, 4 = 80%, etc.?

    BTW, I would love to see your class website! I’m in the process of building mine and I love to see how other teachers organize theirs.

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