What is Standards-Based Grading?
Standards-based grading is grade reporting on clearly articulated discipline-specific standards. The standards represent the Illinois Learning Standards which are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and are developed to ensure career and college readiness.
How is this Different from Current Grading Practices?
Our current grading practices are standards-referenced, meaning that in the majority of classes the content of the assessments are reflective of the standards; however, when students receive feedback in the form of a letter-grade it represents an averaging together of performance on the standards being assessed by the test, quiz, paper, etc. In a standards-based grading model, students receive specific feedback on each descriptive standard being assessed. For example, students in Math 1 may receive one, two, three, or even four grades – one grade for each standard being assessed by the assessment. This approach provides significantly more feedback to the student and parent regarding what they are doing well and what specific areas that need more attention and practice.
Why is District 207 Launching this Pilot?
The standards-based grading pilot represents the continued evolution of grading practices in District 207. Over the last forty-plus years, the goals for schools in America have changed. The factory model of schools many of us are familiar with that sorted and separated students have changed into places where the central belief about students is that all students can learn at high levels given the appropriate amount of time, feedback, and support. One change in this new model of schooling that has lagged behind is our grading practices. Standards-based grading supports our mission to improve learning for all students and helps us realize our vision of reflective and resilient learners who receive personal and relevant feedback in an environment that nurtures their academic and social and emotional growth.
Standards-based grading represents a research-based best practice in providing actionable feedback to students that positively impacts student learning and achievement. Expected performance in a standards-based system is not communicated by a nebulous letter that represents the percentage of correct information a student demonstrated on an assessment. Instead, expected performance is communicated by descriptive language that enables a student, parent, and teacher to understand exactly what a student knows and can do as a result of classroom instruction. This enables the school and family to address specific individual learning needs to ensure that each student meets the standards in the discipline and leaves each course prepared for success in the next step of their education. Standards-based grading holds students to high standards and at the same time provides the high level of support to aid them in realizing their educational goals.