Back To Standards-Based
(Please don't get too worked up about
this... I am just having a little fun.)
Standards-based grading is a slippery slope
teachers are asked to climb. Each state seems to be developing a
system. Many schools and districts seem to be modifying their state
system. I have found that if there are 10,000 schools out there,
there are probably 9,998 different ways of handling standards.
One side bar about the word Rubric. Educators have
latched on to this word and use it to mean scoring guide. A
is/was actually a set of instructions. My feeble mind wonders why
Rubrics are not written in kid language so the little darlings know
what they are supposed to do, and if teachers need teacher talk to
score a paper, that could be done in the Scoring Guide. Needless to
say, that kind of talk gets one nowhere.
Back to standards and rubric scoring...
Not to beat up on my state, but California has
five performance levels for students: Advanced, Proficient, Basic,
Below Basic and Far Below Basic. This is immediately confusing to
parents who try to figure out how that balances against the
traditional five letter grade system of A's and B's. Many mistakenly
think that the middle performance level, Basic, is where most
students should be. This is not the case, as a student is not
considered at grade level until they reach Proficient.
The confusion goes on. Students were tested in
writing in fourth, seventh and tenth grades. A four point rubric was
used to score the writing. (I won't dwell on the fact that when the
state scored the papers, two reader's scores are combined into a
possible eight points.) As you can see we somehow need to jam 4 (or
8) points into a 5 point scale.
Undaunted by the confusion I started writing a
Standards Based PGGP. Teachers are trying to make heads or tails out
of their situation and apply this to what has to be a fairly generic
PGGP. Several things have been learned.
- Percentages are not good
- Using a scale of 100 is necessary if teachers
must use different rubrics for different assessments. (Say one is a 6
point for Writing and another is a 5 point for Math.)
- The above two seem to be in conflict... until you
get away from thinking of traditional percent values. (e.g. 75% = C.)
- Assuming the teacher has gotten this far
- This allows for "standardizing" of four point
and six point rubrics into a set of performance levels.
- It allows a teacher to score any paper and
have it be scaled to the performance indicators.
- This promises to create the proper amount of
confusion usually associated with standards-based Grading.
- Some folks say standards don't round up. This may
be true in several assessments within a single standard.... but it gets
- One philosophy of standards-based grading seems
to round down
- The Driver's License Rubric
- driver can pull away from the curb
- driver can use turn signals
- driver can turn right and left
- driver can parallel park
- driver can't use the brakes
- driver fails the test- The score has been
rounded down to the lowest score of the set.
- Driver's Test Applied to Writing: Summary,
Response to Literature, Narrative, and Summary, using a 6 point rubric.
- Summary- 6
- Response to Literature 5
- Narrative 2 (can't use quotations or
indenting of dialog worth beans)
- Summary 6 (Second Assessment)
- Student receives a 2 in Writing. (They have
not met the standard for the grade level.)
- This causes parents to foam at the mouth
- This gives teachers an opportunity to
say, "If your child could learn these techniques, the proficiency would
be a five or six."
- An additional requirement may be "Use only the latest
assessment". This technique only looks at the latest assessment
of any standard. It meets the requirement of not averaging each
- Another philosophy of standards-based grading is
that you Never Average Standards
- The Single Entry of Standards
- Student gets a 2 on Narrative
- The "grade" is entered into the Narrative
column of the grade book
- Three weeks later the same student gets a
3 on Narrative
- Rather than entering both and averaging,
the "grade" is changed to a 3 in Narrative column.
- PGGP for Standards can be set for Single
Entry with the click of the mouse.
- Another useful setting is to have the grade book look at only the last assessment of a standard.
- Standards Based reports are tricky
- PGGP 5 has a couple of Beautiful Reports
- To View the standards report, click here.
- PGGP can put the standards report into the Letter with a click of the mouse
- Standards Based reports can take up a lot of real
estate on your letters home.
All this being said, standards-based PGGP is
working quite well on the Macintosh and Windows. Teachers are
happy and I even have asked them to vote on new features for the
standards-based PGGP. If you are
interested in this or have comments (corrections) please feel free to
write to George.