Saturday, September 3, 2011

Standards Based Grading

One of the biggest change I’m implementing this school year is on grading.  I shifted from the points grading (PG) system to the non-traditional standards or skills based grading (SBG) system .  In the former system, students receive points for work in assessment categories: homework, laboratory, quiz, test, and projects.  In SBG students are graded on their proficiency in meeting standards.  In either system, the same teaching strategies and assessments are employed.  The main difference lies on how the assessments are graded.  In PG, one reports the percentage of correct answers without a clear cut indication as to which standard the student had missed; whereas, in SBG students get rated for either meeting the standard or not meeting the standard.

I must admit that I have not read any book on SBG but have read a couple of blogs about it.  The most helpful were Frank Noschese’s Blog (a physics teacher), an Educational Leadership article, Chris Ludwig’s blog, and PMs with Cherryl Dela Cruz.  

I have communicated to my department head and principal about this change via email.   I still have to hear from them.   I hope their silence means approval.   At the back to school night, I explained to the parents the grading system and passed out a letter about this grading policy.  Both students and parents have to sign the letter.  In three days I have over 80% return rate.  I’ll contact parents next week and make sure I have a 100% return rate.   I already got some positive feedback from parents but I’m crossing my fingers as I maybe the only one implementing this system in the entire school.  

I did not have the luxury of time in crafting my letter so I borrowed some words from Frank and tailor fit it to Manhattan High School’s structure.   Here is the link to the letter: