SBG – Question #1

In mentally preparing for this upcoming year, my brain (clearly a separate entity from myself, ala pilkington) keeps returning to a couple of sticking points regarding a transition to Standards Based Grading.

Grades Go Down?

Two issues: should they be able to go down? and how do you put that into practice without riot gear on?

For the first issue, it makes sense to me that they should have the potential to go down.  Say one of my standards from the first week of school is “Conditional and Biconditional Statements” and the student gets a 5/5 on this standard, by hook or by crook.  Then if the standard comes up 10 weeks later (before the end of the term, as I won’t/can’t have grades ride over), the student has no idea what a conditional statement is, it seems the right thing to boot them back down to a 1/5 on that standard.  That makes logical sense to me, but does it have the potential to cause student apathy towards reassessment?

For the second issue, how can I create a potential grade lowering assessment? Should I call it something else, say a “criterion assessment” where a selection of old standards get assessed again, and grades can drop?  Should the kids be warned about what standards will be reassessed “for keeps”?  Will a student’s “conditional” standard grade go like the following?

2/5 – original assessment  –> stays after gets help

5/5 – 3rd assessment in –> got there after a week worth of help

… 6 weeks later a criterion assessment

3/5  and so they’ll have to do more work to get it back up to a 5/5

Does this lead the students to a rational conclusion that all reassessments should happen at the end of the quarter or else it might be viewed as a waste of valuable after-school video game time?

Please let me know what you think!  Thanks.

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3 Responses to SBG – Question #1

  1. Jason Buell says:

    I’ve got no problem with grades going down. I think if you’re going to take the time to teach/assess it, that means it’s valuable enough to learn it forever (or at least the whole year). I mean, what’s the point if we’re just going to let them forget it as soon as the test is turned in? If they got it, they got it. Or at least they can refresh it very quickly. If they can’t, it probably means they never had it in the first place so that higher score was inaccurate to begin with.

    Logistically, I build in review time after long holidays. The kids aren’t really mentally into it for awhile and we have a ton of absences so I don’t want to do anything new anyway. So I’ll re-assess and then we’ll spend the next few days reviewing independently and doing small group instruction based on the results.

    @CalcDave is having similar thoughts. Probably worth a chat:

    • Dan says:

      Awesome. I like the idea about building in the review time specifically so that they see it coming and they have a good shot at retaining (or rebuilding) the knowledge. Thanks Jason!

  2. Pingback: Big Bad Wolf (a SBG tale) « A Recursive Process

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