These are all valid concerns and something that we will have to work through as implementation continues over the next few years. I have spoken with the North Dakota University System in regard to transcripts that may not have traditional grades. Their response was that they receive transcripts from across the world and are able to identify those who will be successful. I believe the benefits of standards-based grading and reporting far outweigh these concerns. Based on the research and our experiences I created a list of benefits below:
- Students are more aware of teacher expectations.
- Learning is more visible to the student.
- The grade is more accurate when nonacademic factors like effort, attitude, participation, and class behavior are removed from the grade.
- Identifies breakdowns in learning to guide interventions.
- Identifies areas to enrich for students that already know the material.
- Allows opportunities for student self-reflection on a set of criteria.
- Identifies gaps between and across grade levels.
- Provides diagnostic information helpful for instruction and future training.
- Develops consistency across grade levels, classrooms and schools.
- It makes teacher collaboration more valuable for teachers.
Our Grading and Reporting Committee recently developed a timeline for preparation and implementation of standards-based grading and reporting in grades 7-12. The next five years will certainly be a learning experience for our school district.
Here are several research articles that detail the benefits of standards-based grading and reporting at the high school level:
- The Association Between Standards-Based Grading and Standardized Test Scores in a High School Reform Model (2015)
- Making High School Grades Meaningful (2006)
- The Minimum Grading Controversy: Results of a Quantitative Study of Seven Years of Grading Data From and Urban High School (2012)
- 7th – 12th Grade ELA Teachers and Their Classroom Grading Practices: Investigating the Use of Standards-based Grading in Nebraska’s Rural Classrooms (2010)
- Standards-based grading: Educators’ perceptions of the effects on teaching, student motivation, and assessment at the high school level (2016)
Dr. Matt Townsley has compiled a nice list of research articles that share the benefits of standards-based learning. The full list can be found here: Comprehensive List of Standards Based Grading Articles