Standards-based grading systems can improve how we communicate learning expectations to students.
Imagine, for a moment, a school that has an eight-week marking period, with students receiving a grade each week. Lesley starts out with four
As but ends up with four
Cs. Overall, of course, she gets a
B. Chris, on the other hand, starts out with four
Cs but ends up with four As. He gets a
But who has learned more? In terms of overall achievement, Chris, with his four final As, seems to have mastered the content for the marking period and really deserves an
A. Conversely, Lesley, with her four final
Cs, seems far from mastering the content, but she gets a B because of her good start. The fact is that our current grading practices don't do the one thing they are meant to do, which is to provide an accurate indication of student achievement.
What the Research Shows