There are definitely bumps in the road when it comes to standards-based grading. If you've read my previous post from the beginning of the school year, I was going to make a go at modifying grades for my class so that students assign themselves a number to reflect how well they are meeting standards in my Literacy and Media Technology class. They would choose a 1, 2, or 3 depending on whether they were not meeting, meeting, or exceeding expectations on a particular standard. I found that our reflection conferences were reaching near ten minutes each, and there was no way to efficiently meet with each of my students in a reasonable amount of time (to assign "grades"). Additionally, as I teach a technology course where I have groups of students with a wide array of ability and aptitude, I found myself helping students in between each conference, usually taking from three to eight minutes each. Because reflection is a priority to me, my students complete a reflection survey at the end of each activity. The data I collect from these is invaluable, but I have not used them as a grading tool. Frankly, I do not even want grades!
Following an observation, I discussed my methods and struggles with my Curriculum Director. She suggested that it was impossible to grade using standards only, unless the entire school is set up the same way. There has to be a complete change of mindset and one teacher is not going to be able to do this. There has to be complete buy-in of the philosophy that it is the learning that matters, and not the grades.
Teachers, please share the difficulties you've experienced in transitioning to a standards-based grading program, and how you have overcome them. Administrators, what process did you take to transform your school?
I intend this blog to be a reflection journal of sorts, on topics such as teaching, leadership, pedagogy, and tacos.