One of my goals for using standards based grading is that I wanted to get away from the “get a mark” or “take a mark off” mentality.  By using a three point scale tied to a learning objective and not a single question, my numerical feedback directly relates a holistic realization of progress.  As a result I now get the truly enjoyable treat of having new students approach me and asking why they lost a mark.  I get to look them in their eyes and tell them that I have no idea what they’re talking about.  I then usually ask them if they have demonstrated mastery and we can quickly decide on a resolution. Gone are the days of marks being compared between students, trying to figure out why one person got a 4 on a question while another person only got a 3.

This year I was interested in trying to bring more metacognition and self-awareness on quiz/test feedback. To do this, I have added a little twist to my SBG marking scheme. First I collect the quiz or test and go through each question, leaving feedback where required.  Sometimes my feedback is in the form of Socratic questioning, while other times I might be leaving direct corrections or solutions.  After I have done this, I enter in the students’ progress in ActiveGrade. However, unlike last year where I markup the overall learning objective on the quiz, I am now leaving it blank. I return the quiz/test and ask the students to go through my corrections and feedback and figure out what mark they get for each learning objectives.  Later I compare this mark to the ones I put in ActiveGrade, make adjustments where necessary, and then have the students enter the mark on their learning progress sheets.

The first time I tried this (okay, who am I kidding - I’ve only done this once so far), the students really liked it.  In fact, they were downright enthusiastic about it.  I’m not sure if they appreciate the formative aspect of the task or the feeling of control on their grade. Either way, so far it seems to be well received and probably effective to some degree.  It doesn’t quite get to the self-assessment that John Burke and Frank Noschese do, but perhaps in my context this is the best I can manage.  John and Frank actually have students self-assess their quizzes right after finishing them, and I think this is a great idea.  Unfortunately I don’t think it’s possible to do this with a 30 student classroom and with other classes about to write the same quiz/test later in the day or next day.