SBG Here We Go

After spending months and hours of reading articles and blogs about Standards Based Grading (SBG), I will be embarking down this path myself starting next week.  I’ve been planning on doing this since I first got my job at Prince of Wales, but I think I’ve finally sorted out in my head how I want to approach it.  There are a lot of unknowns because there are a lot of different ways to do SBG.  This contrasts the usual grading practice which is almost always a cumulative grade with some weighting thrown in.  My whole educational life, both as a student and educator, has been based around the idea of collecting grades, adding them up and getting a final percentage.

In SBG, the grading process is directed at assessing learning outcomes and giving feedback on how learning can be improved.  Things that appeal to me is that SBG should allow for targeted re-assessment, and makes a clear distinction between understanding a learning objective (which is graded) versus a work habit (practice problems, homework).  SBG also stops a student from being punished during a learning cycle.  If a student doesn’t understand concept X right away and gets a poor mark on a homework assignment, why should they be punished for it?  I also hope that SBG gives direction on the “how and when” to re-assess.  At my school, everyone has warned me that re-assessment could turn into a nightmare because the students are very academically and grade minded (as are the student’s parents).  However, by removing homework and practice problems from grades, I hope to turn them into justifications for being allowed the privilege of re-assessment.  We will see how it goes.

I could pontificate on the pros and cons of SBG for quite a while, but others have done a wonderful job at it, and have a lot more information for those that are interested.

Frank Noschese was my first introduction to SBG and his Action-Reaction site has a ton of info on it.  I plan on using several of Frank’s outlines for my classrooms.

Kelly O’Shea is another blogger at Physics! Blog! with excellent resources and I’ll be using some of her ideas too. She also has some great ideas on open-ended questions.

Shawn Cornally at Think Thank Thunk as a bunch of ideas about SBG, and is also experimenting with his own SBG grading software called Blueharvest.

Dan Fullerton at Physics in Flux has posted the standards he will be using for SBG and I’ll be borrowing from his thoughts.