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Secondary Evidence Based Reporting

Why is FISD using Evidence Based Reporting?

Beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, the secondary Leading Learners Team and the Secondary Teaching and Learning Team examined grading procedures in an effort to ensure that our practices support our beliefs about learning, assessment, and grading. At the heart of this work were two underlying questions: 

  • Do our grades accurately reflect student learning?  
  • Do our grading practices build confidence in our students’ belief that they can learn? 

One of the team’s first discoveries was that an accurate reflection of mastery of content standards cannot also include traditional behavioral penalties and rewards. As we considered the Learner Outcomes established within the Strategic Plan, the team determined the need to provide separate feedback for reporting mastery of both content standards and success standards. 

The focus will remain on the common understanding that grades should convey what a student knows and is able to do as related to the standards.  Grades are for the purpose of providing students and parents meaningful feedback on student learning, documenting academic progress, and informing instructional decisions to support student achievement without overlooking the need to teach and reinforce behaviors that will lead our students to success.

We can say we want students to be ready for success in college or their chosen career, but unless we identify what that means and teach it, the proclamation is nothing more than lip service.      Schimmer, Grading from the Inside Out, 126

Beliefs and Practices Statements

The team is committed to grading practices that support the learning process, encourage student success, and accurately reflect student progress toward mastery of the course standards, determined by the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) or College Board. Our beliefs about learning and grading practices are grounded in the following statements:

  • All students can learn.
  • Students learn in different ways.
  • Students learn in different time frames.
  • Errors are inherent in the learning process.
  • Assessment is a process for providing feedback that influences learning.
  • Grades should accurately reflect mastery of the standards.
  • Certain behavioral traits are essential for student success.

As evidence of our commitment to these beliefs, the following grading and assessment practices will be implemented:

  • Gradebook entries will accurately reflect progress towards and mastery of the essential content standards.
  • Students will have opportunities to practice standards and to receive individual feedback. These practice opportunities will not be included in the grade calculation.
  • Teachers will intentionally provide and report in Skyward multiple opportunities for scored formative feedback aligned to each summative assessment.
  • Students will be allowed additional opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of essential standards, including through retakes and revisions, after additional relearning has occurred.
  • Entries in the gradebook will not include items that deter from accurate assessment of mastery, such as zeros without opportunity for completion, and/or extra credit.
  • Entries reporting mastery will not include completion and/or participation items that reflect a student’s behavior or items not related to mastery.
  • Success standards that reflect levels of proficiency in responsibility, perseverance, and communication will be reported in a separate category apart from mastery of the TEKS.
Secondary Evidence-Based Reporting Guidelines
secondary grading & assessment guidelines evidence based. reporting

How does reassessment promote mastery of standards?
Reassessment provides students the opportunity to identify areas where they may have gaps in their understanding or skills. By reviewing their performance, students are given time for reflection, feedback, targeted practice, and personalized support. Relearning followed by reassessment encourages a growth mindset, fosters deeper understanding, and facilitates long-term retention of knowledge and skills. 
How does Evidence-Based Reporting hold students accountable?
Evidence-Based Reporting (EBR) is an approach that focuses on measuring a student's mastery of specific learning standards or objectives. This method provides a clear framework and expectations for student learning. Students are accountable  for understanding the clear learning targets, responding to feedback, and taking action on the necessary steps to achieve mastery.

It shifts the accountability from grades alone to a deeper understanding of concepts and skills, ultimately holding students responsible for their own learning and growth.

How does this prepare students for post-high school readiness?
Evidence-Based Reporting promotes the development of both academic and behavioral skills necessary for success after high school by shifting the focus from the grade to the learning. This shift helps students develop skills in goal-setting, self-assessment, and self-direction, which are essential for success in college and the workplace.

For example, if a student were to be unsuccessful on a mid-term exam in college or a certification exam in trade school or the workplace, they would understand that they have an accountability to the re-learning. They would be responsible for communicating and taking action on the re-learning and for persevering through those actions to apply at the next opportunity - even if that next opportunity is not a reassessment. 

The skill sets embedded in Evidence-Based Reporting encourage a growth mindset and foster perseverance, resilience, and the willingness to learn from mistakes — all crucial qualities for lifelong learning and success beyond high school.

Why is FISD providing feedback on Success Standards?
Research shows that in this globally and digitally interconnected world, all learners need skills and knowledge to succeed. These skills not only provide a framework for successful learning in the classroom, but ensure students can thrive in a world where change is constant and learning never stops. If we want to prepare our students for success in school, work and life, opportunities to develop these skills for success and receive feedback on their growth is essential.

We can say we want students to be ready for success in college or their chosen career, but unless we identify what that means and teach it, the proclamation is nothing more than lip service. (Schimmer, Grading from the Inside Out, 126)

What grade levels/courses are using Evidence-Based Reporting?

Evidence-Based Reporting is being implemented at various grade levels and courses throughout the secondary levels of FISD. If your child’s teacher is participating - it will be clearly identified on their Canvas page. Beginning with the 23-24 school year, evidence-based reporting practices will be implemented completely across all 6th grade level course contents.

Is there research to support Evidence-Based Reporting?

FISD has adopted a research-based standards-based mindset in grades 6-12. This mindset is focused on accuracy in grading and feedback around the mastery of a standard and building confidence in future learning. We are also focused on the skill development of responsibility, communication, and perseverance - all crucial qualities for success in whatever path our students choose.

The central research used in this work is Grading From the Inside Out by Tom Schimmer. Other research includes:

  • Guskey, T. R. (2015). On your mark: Challenging the conventions of grading and reporting. Solution Tree Press.
  • Guskey, T. R. (2020). Get set, go!: Creating successful grading and Reporting Systems. Solution Tree Press.
  • Learning - grading - leadership - assessment. Thomas R. Guskey & Associates. (2020, August 28). Retrieved February 25, 2022, from
  • Marzano, R. J. (2006). Classroom Assessment & Grading that work. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
  • O’Connor, K. (2002). How to grade for Learning: Linking grades to standards (2nd ed).  Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
  • Schimmer, T. (2016). Grading from the inside out. Solution Tree Press.
  • Wormeli, R. (2020). Resources for Practical and Compelling Educational Change. rickwormeli. Retrieved February 25, 2022, from 
success standards