Standard-Based Grading


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Unable to reach a worthy grade due to standard based grading.

Lily Simpson, Staff Writer

Standardized grading. Students and teachers hear so much controversy about it at school. Teachers sound like they are obligated to say they like it because it is what the district chooses, and kids say they do not like it because they are afraid of grades in general. With true facts and school gossip aside, what actually is Standard based grading?

Standard based grading (SBG) is a system of education which focuses on student learning and grades based on demonstrated understanding of specific concepts. Instead of the classic letter grades, students receive grades in multiple different learning targets and see which concepts they understood well and which they need to improve on. That sounds wonderful in theory, but that is without putting student’s GPA in mind.

The way the district would like to use standard-based grading is by using numbers one through four rather than the traditional letters, and the numbers correspond directly with the GPA. Grade Point Average (GPA)  is a number representing the average score of the final grades earned in courses over time.

Mia Anderson ’22 refers to the challenging aspects of standard based grading in her P.E. class. “You have to go above and beyond to get a 10, but it’s impossible when they don’t tell you how [to get a 10].”  This proves that there is too much assumption that goes into standard based grading.  What is “outstanding” to one person, can be different than another. It is confusing to teachers as well because, again, there is so much room for assumption.

Many teachers have thought about standard based grading in this school. “I like the idea of it, but we need more help and education about it,” Spanish teacher Kari Gray said. Which goes back to the main opinion;  it sounds great in theory, but with all of the baggage that comes with standard based grading, it may be too advanced to implicate it into the district right now. And if the question is “Will standard based grading prepare students?”, the answer is no. When applying to colleges, the first thing looked at is GPA score. And if the person’s GPA is lower because of standard based grading, that is not fair.

Few colleges have pondered the idea of introducing SBG, but when it comes down to a career, they do not  give you a number or letter grade in the workforce. Overall, standard based grading is not necessarily a bad idea, but it is not ready to be implied into our school system yet.