SBG: Tips & Tricks

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!

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Have a personal reason for SBG so you are more invested.  My favorite part of SBG is that I have a better clue of what my class as a whole is understanding as well as how individual students are doing.  Grading is more meaningful for me.  I can focus on the meaning of the grades because I have time to.  Some ways to get organized and save time:

create a template for quizzes & requizzes [how to on mac & pc]

have a system for turning in quizzes/requizzes

have a system for picking up/taking requizzes

have a system for getting help (on own or with teacher)

Create a system so that you don’t have to do secretarial work. Having systems and procedures in place, especially if the student can be responsible, will make your life easier.  Posters explaining the procedures will help (I had to have one), and hopefully remove the 10 questions you would have to answer 1,000 times a week.  Whatever you do, try to find things that would be a tedious aspect, and see if you can find ways to make it happen without you.  Not having to manage who was coming in for requizzes, what requizzes they wanted, and getting them the requizzes, meant that I could spend more time either planning things or helping kids. Whatever you do, modify it if isn’t working- the kids can adapt!

There can easily be more papers, so find a way to organize. For the requizzes, figure out a way to organize them so that it is easy for you and your kids to deal with.  Don’t only think of the hard copies and where you will put them, but think of the electronic copies you will be making.  Come up with a naming system or folders to keep things easily accessible.  With the kids turning things in, maybe you want a separate turn in location for requizzes.  Maybe you want the quizzes to be done online through a service or website.  Avoid headaches whenever possible!

Find a time to set up to work with kids that works for you. What I did worked for me, my students, and the schedule of our school day.  We start at 9am, so there is time (and it isn’t offensively early) before school and the 1st 3o minutes of the day is homeroom/remediation time.  This time for us is built in, but having time set up, that the kids (& parents) know about, will make life easier than having to create time on a student by student basis.

Cut back on the number of requizzes by having requirements.  If you want to make sure students are prepared for their requiz, require proof of some type of remediation, work or practice before they take it. Having a system in place for them to follow, instead of needing your guidance will make this an easier process and allow you to spend more time helping the student instead of preparing or managing the work. Think about what you have been doing that you can reuse.  Again, you can always change your mind or set up a new system.  Some options I have thought of:

Assign remediation work for them to do (and turn in)

Require quiz corrections (and turn in or go over)

Create a form for students to complete explaining what they have done to prepare.

Create Khan Academy accounts and require them to watch the video and do the exercise (you can track this) before requizzing.

Have students track their progress on their own. My kids had a sheet where they kept track of their scores.  This allowed them to stay on top of their grade, regardless of their computer access, and allowed them to explain to their parents how they were doing.  As students track, they get competitive with themselves and each other, and I think a little of that is ok. They may compare the number of 4s or 5s they get in comparison to each other.  They will be excited when they receive 5s on their 1st attempt.

Explain the system CLEARLY to parents from the start to hopefully avoid too many questions throughout.  Just like students have access to progress, parents can also more easily see their kids progress, so they stay on top of their child.  Helicopter parents can become even more helicopter-ish in this scenario.  I took time to explain the system and idea of SBG at the beginning of the year, but didn’t explain how the gradebook would work.  This was mainly because I wasn’t sure how I would have to “rig it” to make it work.  Over the school year, this led to many questions about what things meant.  Having an explanation of what it will look like in the gradebook (from their view) will help.  Having answers to FAQ (like, “what can my child do to bring up their grade” or “why is my kid struggling”) may also limit that.  Give them answers to questions they may have, before they email you.  I imagine the more they know, and the more their children know, will cut back on disagreements or misunderstandings at home.  Have your students explain it to parents as part of homework one night.  Let your students be the experts so their parents trust them.

Kids may need some help coming in for requizzes.  If you are realizing it is becoming a hassle to get (all, or some, or specific) kids to come in for requizzes you can do somethings to get them to come in.  As you decide what to implement, think about if the kids are not coming in because they are struggling from an academic perspective or if they are struggling from a logistic perspective.  Also think about if the problem is a class wide issue or if it a specific student(s).  If it is logistics, consider class time, lunch time, after school sessions, take home options, or something else.  This could be set up on a student by student basis, coming up with a plan that works for the kids.  If it is an academic issue, the kids are struggling and maybe getting overwhelmed, this is where having a conversation with the kid(s) to help them figure out what to do to get back on track may help. I created an, AlgebraSuccessPlan that I had some kids fill out to help them manage their time and the help they may need.

Posting scores can boost some in class competition.  Having a way to track a student’s progress in mastering concepts can visually have some kids make sure they are keeping up. I would recommend if you started this, offer a lot of support at the beginning to keep kids from being the last kid to master a concept, and then eventually offer less so that they become the ones responsible for keeping up.  Posting the number of concepts each class has mastered, or each class’s average score, etc… can create some fun competition, as well as let you see the differences in classes.

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