I’m not going to mince words here, I really do HATE HATE HATE standards based grading. Why? Because it explains NOTHING. The parents, children, teachers and even the administrators cannot explain exactly what a student has learned, or how well they have grasped the subject. Let me give you an example from one of my experiences:
When my daughter received her first standards based report card:
– We didn’t know what the grades meant.
– We asked our daughter what her grades meant to her and she didn’t know.
– We asked the principal and he didn’t know, he told us to ask the teachers.
– The teachers sent us lots of paperwork, but it didn’t really explain our daughters understanding of what she had been taught.
– We went to the administrators office and after a very long conversation using lots of fancy verbiage that we assumed was an attempt to confuse us, make us feel stupid, or make us leave, they finally admitted that they couldn’t tell us exactly what her grades meant.
End of Story.
What I can’t understand is how so many people believe something is wonderful when nobody can explain what it is or how it works beyond an incredibly generic and non specific concept. The people who love it will tell you it gives them so much MORE understanding of where a student is. Really? Then why can’t you explain my child’s grades when I ask for them?
Here’s another way to explain what’s wrong with standards based grading. Let’s look at the rubrics used by other schools to explain to their staff, students and parents how it works.
Rubrics for Standards Based Grading
I’m inserting links here because they all take a lot of room to explain.
Pretty clear right? *sarcasm* Every school has a different method for grading. Why is this a good thing? Where are the “standards” in standards based grading?
My child receives a “4” in Washington, but an “8” in Minnesota for the same grade. And then you have different grading rubrics for different subjects. Talk about confusing on a grand scale. They expect us to understand something completely unexplainable – AND they expect our children to understand it too.
The school will run you around with so much double speak on this subject that you are supposed to leave feeling like they are so much smarter than you. It’s not true. I am not stupid and neither are you Do not think you have to accept a ridiculous concept as having any kind of merit when it comes to your children’s futures. If they can’t explain what it means, then it has no meaning.
Grades are a tool used to measure a student’s understanding and knowledge. If a carpenter uses a fluctuating measurement system, anything they make would fall apart. So what good is a fluctuating grading system to our children? Will their futures fall apart if we keep standards based grading in our schools?
Standards Based Grading in Colville Schools (as explained to me in percentages): (if anyone at the school wants to contact me to tell me my chart is wrong, don’t bother. I get different answers every time I ask and I don’t have room to put in a manual full of explanations – so this is my best interpretation with what I’ve been given.)
4 = 95% or better (A+)
3 = 60% to 94% (C- to A)
2 = 1 to 59% (D to F – or student wrote their name on the paper.)
1 = Fail
As you can see, the majority of the students will receive a 3, which is anywhere from a C to an A.
The school will tell the parents;
“Your child is doing good, they are getting a 3”.
Well, what the heck does a 3 mean in the first place?
Is it an “A”, a “B”, a “C” or “Nearly failing”?
That statement is worthless when the value of the three is meaningless.
So standards based grading is great if you just want to get through school, but for those students who want to excel, it is bewildering and frustrating on every level.
My son was always grade conscious, but when they went to standards based grading, he didn’t understand his grades anymore and nobody could explain them to him. He became frustrated and apathetic because he didn’t understand what was expected of him and what he WAS doing no longer had any meaning.
For the rest of his school career, he just muddled his way through by pleasing the teachers. This ridiculous system taught him to just ‘do as he was told’. It didn’t seem to have anything to do with actually learning (or teaching?) the subject matter – which is what we thought school was for in the first place.
ANOTHER ANNOYANCE: Continue reading