After attending my first #sblchat (highly recommended) about a week ago on Twitter, I decided I would write another post on my experience with Standards-Based Grading (primarily, because I want other educators to do the same). My focus in this post is going to be largely on how I record student grades in the district-mandated online grade book.
During #sblchat several of us got into a discussion about our online grade books and the pros and cons of each. Several were mentioned: Haiku, ActiveGrade, PowerSchool, and SAM. As stated in the discussion, my district requires us to use PowerSchool. Here’s a picture of my grade book with student’s names removed.
I follow my district’s two-category format. Grades categorized as “Formative” are red and account for 40% of the student’s term grade and grades that are black account for 60% of final grade and are categorized as “Summative”. This system isn’t the most conducive of an SBG, but we have to make it work.
Currently, every student is assessed at least twice in class on each standard (anymore is up to them). The newest grade is recorded in black and the older assessment is bumped into the red — older grades are erased entirely. I believe this is referred to as a decaying average. Everything else is pretty traditional.
The one thing I’m not satisfied with is how I assign scores for each individual assignment. I tried just looking over the assessments and rating students 4 – mastery, 3 – developing, or 2 – beginning, but I found myself entirely too inconsistent — perhaps this could be rectified by creating rubrics for each assignment (I simply do not have the time for this this year with 3-preps and 110 students). In an attempt to be more fair, I now grade each problem on the assessment as 4, 3, or 2 and then take the average of all of the problems, that’s how I end up with 3.3, 2.7, etc. For students asking what they need to retake, I typically say if its lower than 3, you should retake it.
PowerSchool has an SBG feature, which I intend to explore over this holiday break, but I am afraid that I am not going to be able to find a way to implement it into the existing grading structure. I am largely interested in it after my first SBG semester exam, which saw every student reassessing their 5 lowest standards and me changing EACH of these grades for EVERY student!
Please leave a comment if you have anything to add about your implementation or ideas of how I could improve my own.
P.S. In terms of other grade books I love ActiveGrade. I don’t have time, nor the experience, to fully evaluate it, but check out some of their videos on their website, it looks like the ultimate SBG grade book.