Five Reasons Teachers Should Use Standards Based Grading in Their Classrooms
- Grades Should Have a Clear Meaning
- There Is a Need to Challenge the Status Quo
- Maintain More Control of Grading Practices
- Reduce the Amount of Paperwork
- Enhance the Ability to Adjust Instruction
Teachers have a lot to do, and these five reasons why teachers should use standards based grading could seem overwhelming at the first look. Most teachers and school districts have a requirement to use point-based grading, but standards based grading may have more advantages. Consider these top five reasons why teachers and school districts should take a serious look at standards based grading systems.
Grades Should Have a Clear Meaning
Grades need to have a clear meaning. Even at the elementary level, parents and students need to have an understanding of what a child’s grades mean. At the high school level, grades gain critical importance for college, vocational training and military applications. Converting from a point-based grading system to a standards based grading system allows a teacher to identify where the student is on the continuum of learning in a subject. For example, an A letter grade on a standards based system could mean proficiency in all aspects of the subject and advanced knowledge in some aspects.
There Is a Need to Challenge the Status Quo
Just because things have been done one way for a long time does not mean that this is the right way or the only way to reach the objective. For example, some teachers are used to assigning pages of homework problems. A way to challenge the status quo would be to assign a few homework problems and tie them to specific learning standards that a student would need to meet in order to be measured as proficient. The old way of grading homework could lead to students not doing well in their overall grade because they did the work as busy work instead of as a learning objective in preparation for the test.
Maintain More Control of Grading Practices
According to ASCD, teachers do not have as much control over what goes on in their classrooms as they would like to have. They cannot control the length of the period or school day, how many students they have or whether or not their students or the parents are difficult. One thing that teachers can control is the way that they assess a student’s learning.
Reduce the Amount of Paperwork
Teachers have to deal with a lot of paperwork. If they graded every homework problem on every assignment and proofread every paper, they could spend every minute of their afternoon, evening and weekend doing this. Going to a standards based grading system could reduce this type of work. Teachers could review selected homework problems in order to see where a student is in the learning process and tailor the feedback and future assignments for the student.
Enhance the Ability to Adjust Instruction
Grading by averages with a point-based system does not accurately reflect what a student is learning. This is especially true if student attendance or participation is counted as part of a grade. Just showing up to class does not mean that the student is learning. Using a standards based system provides a better measure of how well a student is learning and whether or not they are progressing in order to meet the standard.
These are not the only reasons to turn to a standards based grading system, but they are five important ones. It is important to get all teachers within a school district on board with the plan. Although people are often resistant to change, understanding these five reasons why teachers should use a standards based grading system could help educators lead their students to successful outcomes.