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Standards-Based Grading?

Back To Standards-Based PGGP 5

 (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 Rubric 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.


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.