In a few days, parents will receive a standards based report in the mail from us, right around the same time they are able to go online and access their students' grades. While we have provided standards based reports in addition to traditional grades for the past few years, this is the first year that we are determining our grades solely based on these standards. We are more confident than ever that our grades are the most accurate representation of student learning we have ever assigned.
The standards based reports include a brief overview of the unit, which is common to all students, as well as a personal comment about individual student growth and goals. The learning targets (standards) for the unit are then listed below, with the student's end of unit score for each. A three (3) is the target for 10th grade. Any students who do not yet achieve a 3 will revisit the targets in upcoming units, with new content. This allows students to move forward, yet still ensures that they (and we) are able to address areas of need.
|JumpRope Standards Based Report|
In a true standards based system, the individual score for each learning target would be the only judgement necessary, but we are still required to provide a single, composite grade for the unit. The grade is determined by averaging the scores from the targets (which we weight based on importance and amount practiced), and then using a conversion scale to come up with the grade. Our conversion scale is currently slightly higher than the traditional 4.0 GPA conversion, as we believe the students who meet the targets deserve a grade that represents that learning.
The standards based reports help our students understand that grades are tied to achievement. Habits of learning are not included in the calculation of the grade, though good habits most often lead to good learning. Since beginning with this level of precision, we have found that our students are more motivated to learn, are able to make greater gains in learning, and are able to ask better questions. The conversations we have with students (and parents) are about specific learning goals, not about grades. This is a significant and important change in mindset.
We are excited about the potential for standards based learning at our school, and look forward to gathering feedback from parents and students!
Thanks for reading, and feel free to ask questions. The web-based program we use to track and report student learning is called JumpRope. We encourage you to visit their site at Jumpro.pe or to follow them on Twitter at @jumpropers.
Stan and Emily