Here is a quick summary of my SBG scheme: I give out shorter quizzes and generally avoid unit tests There are no differences between quiz or tests, quiz questions or test questions Quizzes have any where from 1 to 5 learning objectives on them Each quiz is graded according to objectives, not marks Each objective is graded out of 3: 1 is a start, 2 means some understanding is shown (any amount really), 3 means mastery Quiz questions are generally at the level of “normal” questions.
As It Stands After two months of I decided to return to my previous system of SBG objectives. Read on to see what I had tried but ultimately didn’t continue with. This year was once again fairly successful with SBG. I managed to work the Transfer Tasks into my system OK, which made me feel better about students that get all “mastered” on their learning objectives. However, I’m still not satisfied with how this works out.
This year was my fifth year in using Standards Based Grading (SBG). I’ve posted about my SBG system before but I’d like to give an update on what I’m doing. I give out shorter quizzes and generally avoid unit tests There are no differences between quiz or tests, quiz questions or test questions Quizzes have any where from 1 to 5 4 learning objectives on them Each quiz is graded according to objectives, not marks Each objective is graded out of 3: 1 is a start, 2 means some understanding is shown (any amount really), 3 means mastery Standards are split into 2 categories: A and B.
In my first three years of teaching I have done a gradual move towards giving better feedback and more active learning experiences. At the same time, I’m getting better at meeting student needs, and this is one area that I want to focus on in the coming year. What’s Working I think that my grading scheme using SBG has been positive. The aspects that I like and that I get good feedback on include the following: kids get the feeling that they are not collecting marks, and know that they need to focus on learning; if a student has problems with a topic, they know they can still improve without punishment from previous attempts; the learning objectives are really clear; students for the most part appreciate the opportunity to try and figure out stuff on their own.
While I’m working on some new post for my blog, I thought I’d share some other blog posts that may trigger some interesting educational explorations for you. Having a Growth Mindset is a big topic these days, and with good reason. Every math teacher knows this, as we constantly hear the phrase “I’m not good at math.” Geoff Schmit’s recent post Introducing Growth Mindset is a good place to start reading up on mindset.
My Experience as a Teacher Something very interesting happened to me during our 2nd parent-teacher interviews this year. None of the parents I spoke with asked about grades. Most of you don’t know the school that I taught at, but in many ways it is quite different from other public schools in BC. I don’t have the specific numbers, but about 80% of our graduates this year are moving onto university next fall.
L’histoire After Term I had ended last fall, I was exhausted and extremely disappointed with my students’ reaction to my re-assessment policy. Since I had used the same system the year before, I wasn’t anticipating a different reaction this year. Different year, different students and things didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. The Experiment During Term II I was telling my students that I was no longer doing re-assessments.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of having two students pop by after school for a bit a help. I say “pleasure” because it’s pretty rare that students come by for help. To top things off, it was a Friday afternoon that leads into a long weekend! My students wanted just a bit of help with a problem we were working on in class, and they were accompanied by a couple of friends who patiently waited while we talked.
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.
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.