JANUARY 18: MIDDLE SCHOOL PARENT COFFEE HIGHLIGHTS
Didi Hari Krishnan

- SAS has been using the standards based approach for about seven to eight years

Key component #1: Instruction, assessments, and grades are directly connected to defined and specific learning outcomes (called standards) that are known by both teachers and students.

Comparison between standards based model and non-standards based model:
Standards based model:
- Learning outcomes are shared with students - often in student-friendly “I can” statements
- Rubrics describe what “success” looks like for each standard
- Students receive grades on individual standards
- Criterion-referenced (student achievement is measured in relation to the outcomes)

Non-standards based model:
- Learning outcomes might be shared with students
- Students receive one score on an assignment
- Students receive one grade that combines (averages) all of their learning outcomes
- Norm referenced (the curve)

Key component #2: Scores and grades that a student receives need to be accurate reflections of student achievement. They cannot include factors that “distort achievement”.

Standards based model:
- Academic grades do NOT include any of the factors that distort achievement
- Will report out on important student behaviors separately

Non-standards based model:
- Grades often include factors that distort achievement such as:
- Student behavior
- Reduced marks for late work or academic dishonesty
- Extra credit
- Attendance
- Zero for missing work

Key component #3: Grades are based only on summative evidence and emphasize more recent achievement

Standards based model:
- Only summative evidence is used to determine grades
- More recent learning evidence is emphasized when determining grades
- Opportunities to reassess
- Teachers determine final grades

Non-standards based model:
- Assignments, quizzes, and tests are all included in final grade
- Earlier learning is averaged with later learning
- Students cannot reassess
- Grading software determines final grades

Frequently asked questions regarding standards-based approaches:

1. Why should I bother?
The point of the formative is for the teacher to provide feedback to a student to guide their next steps. It's an opportunity for the student to get a clear sense of how they're doing. If they don't try their best, they get inaccurate information on their progress. It is an important part of their learning process.

2. Why is my teacher not letting me redo this assignment?
Some teachers know that the topic will be included in the next assessment at a later time. 

3. So...are you telling me there are no consequences for missing or late work?
There may be behavioral consequences or other consequences instead of taking points from the learning.

4. Why do we use “meeting expectations” instead of percentages or letter grades?
Letter grades (percentages)
- Feel more precise and therefore more accurate, but aren’t
- Hard to distinguish between 100 levels of performance (60 of which are “failing”)
- Not all 100 percents are equal

We give students performance descriptors:
- Usually have four or five levels
- Increased accuracy
- PLCs determine levels of proficiency connected to standards

Additional resources: 
The Case Against Percentages
A Repair Kit for Grading (summary)
Grading: Why You Should Trust Your Judgement
The Perils of Late Work and How to Make it Count
It’s Time to Stop Averaging Grades


How does a standards-based approach work at SAS?
Professional learning communities: An ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve. 

PLC Cycle of Inquiry.png

PLC Question #1: What is it that we want all students to know and be able to do? 
- We divided this into two categories: Content standards and learning behaviors

Content standards:
- Based on SAS approved curriculum frameworks
- Aligned within and across grades
- Five-point proficiency scale (Exemplary, Meeting, Approaching, Below, Failing)

Learning behaviors (reported individually):
- Based on research around what good learners do
- Aligned within the division
- Four-point frequency scale (Consistently, Frequently, Occasionally, Rarely)

PLC Question #2: How will we know that they have learned it?

Formative assessment:
- May have common elements within a PLC
- Can take a variety of forms
- Linked to standards
- Used to provide feedback to students and plan next steps

Summative assessment:
- Must have common elements within PLC
- Can take a variety of forms
- Linked to standards
- Used to determine final grades

  • assessments
  • grading
  • middle school
  • PowerSchool
  • standards based approach
  • summative

 

 

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