How does a standards based grading system compare to a system using letter grades such as A, B, C, D, and F?
The two systems provide very different information. Letter grades represent an average score of all skills and concepts by combining how well the student met a teacher’s expectations, how the student performed on assignments and tests, how much effort the teacher believes the student put in, and how the student is doing in comparison to other classmates. Letter grades do not tell parents which skills their child has mastered or whether he or she is working at grade level. Letter grades may include both academic and nonacademic factors. In contrast, standards based grades provide information only on the specific skills and concepts a student has mastered and those he or she is still working on. Nonacademic factors, such as behavior, work habits, and class participation are reported separately from the academic standard proficiency level.
Is a “4” the same thing as an “A”?
A “4” is not equivalent to an “A”. Remember, a mark of “3” indicates that a student is meeting grade-level expectations with independence and excellence. With high and challenging expectations, a “3” is exactly where a student should be by the end of the year.
Why are all the learning targets not listed on the report card?
A standards based report card is not the same as a list of standards. Although a student receives grades for all of the ICS Learning Targets for his/her grade level subjects, the report card summarizes the standard strands for each grade level. A full list of learning targets for each grade level and subject area can be found at the ICS website under “Culture and Academics” (ics-edu.org) Additionally, you can access all of your child’s grades for every learning target through your family PowerSchool account.
What examples of assessments do teachers use to assign grades?
With a standards based approach, teachers evaluate student learning in a variety of ways using classroom observations and classwork, along with formative and summative assessments. Formative assessments, such as homework, quizzes, and pre-assessments, are used to check for understanding, set goals, and inform instruction throughout the learning process. Summative assessments, such as unit tests, rubrics, and performance assessments, are used to evaluate learning at the end of a unit or project. The combination of these pieces of evidence, provides a more detailed picture of student progress towards grade level expectations. Only summative assessments are used for grading purposes.