Standards Based Grading

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly...

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Norms for the Day

  • Stay on schedule, be on time.
  • Participate and listen actively.
  • Take care of your self and your neighbor.
  • Prepare your technology for learning and engagement.
  • It's OK to have fun!
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Agenda for the Day

8:30-8:45 Introduction/Norms/Expectations

8:45-9:45 My Experience with Standards- Based Grading

9:45-9:55 BREAK

9:55-10:35 Analyzing Student Work and Creating Assessments

10:35-10:55 Share Out Created Assessment

10:55-11:00 Debrief

Resources for the Day

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You are the king/queen of your domain!

As we talk and discuss assessment today, be aware that nobody knows the students, staff, and administrators better at your district and campuses than you. You have been trusted to make decisions that will be the best for your district and students. Please don’t feel that you or your decisions are being questioned. This is not a one size fits all conversation, and you will have to take your students, staff, and community members into consideration before you make any changes or adjustments. Effective change takes time and changes to a grading system need “buy in” from your school community to make an impact on students.

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On separate sticky notes answer the following questions:

1. How do you know when students have mastered the standards that you have taught?

2. How do you communicate student mastery (or lack of) to students and parents?

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How has education changed in the last 10 years for administrators, teachers, and students?

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What do the experts say?

My Tipping Point

I already knew that my grading system was not working well and I was frustrated. After attending conferences with my campus leadership team and administrator, I started questioning the "why" behind my grading policy.

Rick Wormeli's YouTube videos were the biggest tipping point for me. BUT, many other teachers I worked with found his delivery abrasive and offensive. Keep that in mind when you are trying to make a culture change on your campus. There is no silver bullet...

Rick Wormeli: Redos, Retakes, and Do-Overs, Part One

This one is my favorite!

Rick Wormeli: Redos, Retakes, and Do-Overs, Part Two
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Measuring the Standard vs. Measuring the Work


5) History. The student understands the challenges confronted by the government and its leaders in the early years of the republic. The student is expected to:
(E) identify the foreign policies of presidents Washington through Monroe and explain the impact of Washington's Farewell Address and the Monroe Doctrine

Why would teachers use a matching worksheet?

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This shaped what I valued in my classroom.

1. Good behavior

2. Completing work

3. Turning work in on time

The expectations for learning my content was very low- statewide, on my campus, and in my classroom.

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Where is the accountability focused?

Students who failed my class (avg. 10 a six weeks), would still pass TAKS and some would even get commended.

They were failing because of zero’s, points deducted for turning in assignments late or incomplete.

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and both of my kids were now in elementary school...


My oldest is 11 and has ADD/ADHD and can be super annoying, but he also has a verbal memory (which can be problematic) and can read at an 11th grade level.

How many of you know a Jackson at your school?

What types of grades do you think Jackson makes?

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and STAAR was coming!

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Changes in Assessment...

Under TAKS- students with low levels of knowledge were still VERY successful.

STAAR has changed that- the level of comprehension expected for student success has been raised.

  • Have you made the jump in their instruction?
  • Have you made the jump with your grading?

Our grading policies should mirror what we value in our classrooms and the necessity of content knowledge.

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This is where you find out if your grading matches the level of the standard.

What do you want teachers to focus on?


•Do your work

•Complete your work

•Learn on my timeline

•Punitive grading

•No Re-takes

•Limited ability to make corrections



•Zero’s are NOT an option: if I assign it you do it!

•Give re-takes, as many as it takes- until they get it!

•Give grades based on KNOWLEDGE: if they prove to you that they know it- then show it in the grades you give them!

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What is BEST for kids?

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Punitive Grading

"If the grade is distorted by weaving in a student's personal behavior, character, and work habits, it cannot be used to successfully provide feedback, document progress, or inform our instructional decisions regarding that student- the 3 primary reasons we grade."

Steve Wormeli

What are you trying to communicate with your grades?

What do punitive grading policies communicate to parents and/or students?

Did Johnny (the student who turns in everything late or never turns it in), change his behavior because of your punitive grading?

Or was Johnny still collecting zeros in May?

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So what did I do?

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Grading Policies

I changed the verbage in my grading policy and my category weights.

Also- not every assignment was worth 100 points in the gradebook (readiness vs. supporting standards). This helped add accountability where I felt it needed to be.

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My goal for my students...

My goal is for all of my students to master the state objectives for my course.

To support that goal, I allow students to retake or correct ALL assignments to earn a higher grade and achieve mastery. The retakes are subject to change and may be given in a different format that the original assessment.

Retakes and corrections will be done during tutorials and the academic extension class period.

District Assessments

•Corrections could be done on tests for half of their points back.

•This was a COMPROMISE- I thought they should get all of their points back.

•My department wanted students to take our tests more seriously since the District Assessment did not hold much weight on their average.

•I agreed, and conceded on this point. I don’t always get what I want.

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Teachers Lounge

Out of all of these policies, what do you think was the biggest point of contention in the teachers lounge?
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Guided Practice Corrections

•Students could correct their daily work/homework for full credit.

•The most important thing (to me) was for them to learn the information!

This does not necessarily happen the first time kids are interacting with the content. Or the second for that matter……

But there was a catch…….

  • All homework corrections had to be done in my room during tutorials.
  • Kids will cheat- it happens.
  • I explained a high daily grade would not be a buffer for a failing assessment grade.

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Most important rule...

Realize that you can start changes at the administrative level and at the same time give teachers ownership of the details.

  • Example: District/Campus policy- We will give opportunities for students to obtain mastery of standards through corrections and retakes of assessments.

Teacher is allowed to set the timeline on when those corrections and retakes need to be done. You need to give the teachers ownership of their reality.

My first year I did not have a time limit- the last week of every six weeks was BRUTAL! The next year I gave them a week (from finding out their grade) to make corrections or complete retakes.

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If we are grading based on standards- the students should know what they are learning and what knowledge they will be expected to demonstrate!

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How can students INTERACT with the objective daily?

Set in my procedures.

1.Objective (TEKS) for the day was posted on my SMART board as students walked in the room.

2.Students walk in and write down their objective for the day.

3.Students have one minute after the bell to get this completed.

What did that look like?


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Summary Statements

Set in my procedures.

1.The last 2 minutes of class, students had to answer a question for their summary statement.

2.The statement was tied to the objective from the beginning of class.

3.Their ability to answer this statement helped them analyze if they had successfully understood the concept for the day.

Students were able to store their knowledge to be able to access it at a later date.

What did that look like?

Closer/Wrap Up/Assessment

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Student Handout

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Objectives/ Summary Statements


1.Students interacted with the objective.

2.Students analyzed their knowledge daily (helped to increase student ownership).

3.Helped structure my class time. Students had something to do when they walked in and before they walked out- became routine.

4.Easy grade to take every 3 weeks.

Example: I picked 5 days to grade (each was worth 20 points) and the students never knew what days I was going to pick.

Thoughts/ Questions/ Comments?

  • How do your students interact with the standards?

  • How do you ensure that your lessons are enforcing the standards?

Growing Pains...

1. Angry peers (fights in the teacher lounge)

2. Support from my administrators (if you have a no zeros allowed- there has to be some kind of school policy to help enforce this idea)

3. Frustration with time (my first year my time limit for assignments was every 3 weeks- I made an adjustment to one week for the next two years)

4. My class became much harder (contrary to arguments from teachers/admin/parents, my class became harder)

What are some possible growing pains for you and your district?

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  • Less students failed (avg. 3 a six weeks)
  • Students had a much higher level of knowledge of the content
  • Students took risks that were uncommon in other classes
  • Students complained about how hard my class was- but in the same breath would discuss history facts with passion and conviction
  • Students had grit and perserverence
  • Mean average went down


  • Eventual buy in- instilled disciplinary measures across the campus to support SBG policies
  • My administrators started to WALK the WALK


  • Grading policy shifted the accountability to my students. The tone of my parent meetings changed and my last year of teaching I did not have one angry parent meeting


  • My class became a safe place to learn- kids could try and fail and still have a chance to be successful
  • My students were confident when it came to STAAR- they knew I had given them the tools to be successful and all they had to do was put those tools to good use
  • My effectiveness as a teacher skyrocketed.

Value-Added Data


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What does this look like for me?

Steps in creating a classroom that utilizes standards based grading:

1. Know the standards and understand the level at which students need to show mastery.

2. Creating assessments that are focused on the standards in order to provide teachers quality feedback on student mastery.

3. Assigning grades based on student mastery of standards.

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Student Work Analysis

1. Read the standard

  • Level of the standard
  • Depth of knowledge required for student mastery

2. Analyze the student work

3. Write the grade you would give for this assignment on a sticky note and put it under the table.

8.5E Identify the foreign policies of president Washington and explain the impact of Washington's Farewell Address.

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Let's practice!

Student Work Analysis

1. Partner up with someone who teaches the same content and grade level.

2. Find a sample of work for your content area that is close to your grade level.

3. Analyze the student work to determine what standard you think is covered by this assignment.

4. How would you modify this assignment to maximize to student learning?

5. Discuss the grade you would give this assignment.

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Find another pair and share!

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It's Your Turn

1. Choose a standard you will be teaching in your next unit.

  • Analyze the level of the standard
  • Analyze the depth of knowledge required for student mastery
  • What prior knowledge will you need to consider before creating this assessment

2. What is the student learning objective you are focusing on for this assessment.

3. Create an assessment and be prepared to share out.

4. Decide how you will determine mastery of the standard.

Pair Up and Share Out

After your partner has shared their assessment with you, you should be able to answer the following questions:

1. What standard is being addressed?

2. What is the student learning objective for this assessment?

3. How will mastery of the standard be determined?

Be prepared to share out with the whole group!

Standards Based Grading CanNot Be Successfully implemented without standards based assessments!

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Questions/ Comments/ Thoughts?

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Exit Ticket for Today

Click on the link below to take you to a Padlet to record your 3-2-1 response. Double click anywhere on the page and put your name as the "Title" and then put your 3-2-1 reponse where it says "Write Something..."

3 Agrees: 3 things from today's discussion and activities that you agree with

2 Wonders: 2 things from today's discussion and activities that you wonder

1 Change: 1 thing you believe you can/should change

3-2-1 Response

Click on the button to take you to the Padlet and enter your 3-2-1 response.

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