Standards-Based Grading vs. Traditional Grading

grade progression

How Does Standards-Based Grading Differ From Traditional Grading?

With the traditional grading system, many elements are combined to determine your child’s grade – test scores, quizzes, completed homework, classroom participation, coming to school on time, extra credit – then, the average of the semester’s work equates into a percentage that correlates with a specific letter grade. 

Standards-Based Grading separates those elements. And while we believe all should be addressed, now parents will be able to see specifically if their child needs help with an academic concept or if he or she can’t remember to turn in homework. 

Standards-Based Grading measures a student’s mastery of grade-level standards by prioritizing the most recent, consistent level of performance. 

The Benefits of Standards-Based Grading

For Students:

  • Learning targets are clearly defined and aligned with state standards.
  • Students are offered multiple opportunities and ways through which to demonstrate proficiency
  • Students monitor their own progress toward the achievement of specified targets
  • Specific feedback on progress helps build self-esteem, pride, and motivation for students

For Parents

  • Report card grades are less mysterious and have more meaning
  • Parents are aware of exactly what their child knows, is able to do, and next steps for progress
  • Parents know in what areas their child needs more support
  • Parents are empowered to increase their child's confidence and help their student set goals

For Teacher

  • Teachers know exactly where students stand in their progress toward learning targets and what support needs to be provided
  • Teachers of the same courses have aligned expectations and standards
  • Assessment results help teachers determine when students need extra help and when they need more challenging work

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