Standards Based Grading & Reporting
As part of our Academic Transformation Plan and district FOCUS, Woodridge School District 68 strives to provide accurate, meaningful, and timely feedback to both students and parents throughout the learning process. Reporting of student achievement should reflect student progress toward mastery of key academic concepts and identify multiple pathways to deeper learning.
We understand that standards-based reporting is very different from the traditional grading system most parents are familiar with through their own experience. If you would like more information to help in your understanding, please review the resources posted here.
Standards-based grading communicates how students perform on a set of clearly defined learning targets called standards. The purpose of standards-based grading is to identify what a student knows, or is able to do, in relation to those learning targets – as opposed to simply averaging grades/scores over the course of the grading period, which can mask what a student has learned or not learned. A standards-based grading system measures a student’s mastery of grade-level standards by prioritizing the most recent, consistent level of performance.
The elementary level is based on a development model where learning is valued as a process. Traditional grading for elementary students does not communicate to parents what teachers want them to know about their child’s strengths and challenges. Standards-based grading reports what students should know and be able to do within each content area at each grade level. The real-time monitoring of student performance reflects a more accurate picture of student achievement. Other reasons for standards-based grading include:
- Current methods of grading do not accurately indicate what a student knows and is able to do at a given point in time
- Students will be able to explain what they learned or did not learn rather than recite a percentage
- It benefits all learners – students who struggle and accelerated learners
- Parents are provided information on specific standards while receiving meaningful feedback
No, the following performance descriptors are used to indicate a student’s progress in meeting academic learning standards:
- Extending: Student demonstrates the skill or understands concepts at a level exceeding expectations for the reporting period.
- Meeting: Student applies the skill or understanding of the concepts at the level expected for the reporting period
- Developing: Student is developing the skill or understanding of the concepts and meets most expectations for the reporting period.
- Beginning: Student is beginning to demonstrate the skill or understanding of the concepts and needs to improve progress in order to meet expectations for the reporting period.
Standards-based grading is different from traditional letter-grade reporting. Letter or numerical grades are often calculated by combining how well the student met a teacher’s expectations, how the student performed on assignments and tests, how much effort the teacher believes the student put in, and how the student is doing in comparison to classmates. Letter or numeric grades do not tell parents which skills their child has mastered or where he or she is working at grade level. Standards-based grading measures individual student growth and college and career readiness as it relates to the grade-level standards. This will give parents a better understanding of their child’s strengths and challenges and encourage all students to do their best.
When students can clearly see the learning goals/purpose for each activity and connect the outcome of those activities to actions that are within their control, motivation improves. In other words, when students can see that the level and amount of work they contribute to a learning activity is directly related to the outcome, they will be empowered and encouraged to work hard.