The Problem This past week has been extremely disappointing for my SBG grading scheme, and is forcing me to evaluate different aspects of standards based grading in general. Two things that I’ve done have seem to flopped quite badly. First, I have tried to move to a mastery/conjunctive grading system, in hopes of raising some minimum standards that students should meet. Secondly, I tried to implement some gradual Student Initiated Assessment (SIA) rules to have the students take a more mature approach to assessment.
This week we had our final exams, and I have all of my Physics 11 and 12 marks in. Overall the exam marks were extremely disappointing. The Physics 11 exam was 50 questions and my class average was 61%. For Physics 12, the multiple choice section was even worse with 51% average, while the written portion was much higher at around 85%. It is difficult for me to understand exactly what happened with the exams.
Term 1 just ended here in British Columbia and as I’ve learned this year, it is a big deal for students in grade 12. It turns out that many (all?) US universities look for term1 marks for their applications. Some of the schools in eastern Canada do the same, such as U of T. What this means is that I had students running around like chickens with their heads cut off, trying to get as many marks as possible.