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Standards Based Learning & Grading

We will redefine the measure of student success based on our beliefs and call to action.

Goal 2 of FISD's Strategic Plan

Standards Based Learning in FISD

We are thrilled to share that in 2023-24 all students in Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, and Fourth grades will have a Standards-Based report card every nine weeks. This type of evaluation of student learning greatly benefits our students by clearly measuring their proficiency on defined essential standards and learning progressions in each core content area, along with a Learner Profile (social development, formerly conduct), and fine arts.  

Educational research shows that when teachers measure students’ learning based on standards and not just a numerical or letter grade, then the ability for teachers to target specific areas of student strength and need is much more easily identified. Traditional grading systems are based on an average, which sometimes does not make clear to students and their families exactly what students have mastered or are still working on. Families will receive weekly communication through their students' folder and/or digitally through Seesaw and Canvas from the classroom teacher indicating how their student is progressing on mastering each standard. The design of this Friendswood ISD standards-based report card was a collective effort of our Standards Based Thought Leaders and Report Card Teams composed of many of our Kindergarten through 5th-grade teachers, instructional coaches, parents, district and campus administrators, and school board members.  We celebrate our educators’ focus on student learning and providing targeted feedback about student progress.

standards based learning and grading

Understanding My Child’s Report Card

In the Standards-Based Grading system, both students and parents are aware of clear learning outcomes and the pace for expected mastery of each grade level target.

Grades on traditional report cards often reflected a combination of academic progress, work habits, and participation. Standards-Based Grading solely reflects progress on priority learning standards.

The grade level target for each learning standard is a 3. When a 3 is earned, the student has met the grade level expectations for that topic. While some topics have expectations for mastery early in the year, many of the topics do not have mastery expectations until the end of the school year.  You will see this expectation reflected on the learning progressions, as well as the report cards each nine weeks. 

Levels 1 through 3 cannot be equated to the A-F grading scale. It is normal for students to advance from a 1 to a 3 as they develop greater proficiency of the standard. A student who achieves a level 3 on all topics on the report card by the end of the year has mastered all grade level expectations. You will likely see more 1's early in the year and 3's later reflecting the necessary progression, and mastery level of the skills.

This is especially evident in language arts and math. In science and social studies, most topics are addressed completely within a grading period. 

Linked below is the Standards Based Grading Key, also known as levels of proficiency. This gives you a general idea of what a 1,2, 3, or not yet evident means.  The grade level and content specific learning progressions outline the priority standards being measured or assessed each nine weeks and what a student should be able to know and do within each of these standards. 

Standards Based Grading Key

Kinder. Report Card

Learning Progressions

1st Grade Report Card 

Learning Progressions

2nd Grade Report Card

Learning Progressions

3rd Grade Report Card

Learning Progressions

4th Grade Report Card

Learning Progressions

5th Grade Report Card

Learning Progressions

How Does Standards-Based Grading Differ From Traditional Grading?

With the traditional grading system, many elements are combined to determine your child’s grade – test scores, quizzes, completed homework, classroom participation, coming to school on time, extra credit – then, the average of the semester’s work equates into a percentage that correlates with a specific letter grade. 

Standards-Based Grading separates those elements. And while we believe all should be addressed, now parents will be able to see specifically if their child needs help with an academic concept or if he or she can’t remember to turn in homework. Standards Based grading is the vehicle in which authentic learning (Goal 6) comes to life in classrooms due to the specific feedback and evidence teachers gather on students' areas of strengths and growth related to standards.  

Standards-Based Grading measures a student’s mastery of grade-level standards by prioritizing the most recent, consistent level of performance.


Students will now be a part of their educational journey in an active way, become empowered and set their own learning goals

The Benefits of Standards-Based Grading

For Students

  • Learning targets are clearly defined and aligned with state standards.
  • Students are offered multiple opportunities and ways through which to demonstrate proficiency
  • Students monitor their own progress toward the achievement of specified targets
  • Specific feedback on progress helps build self-esteem, pride, and motivation for students

For Parents

  • Report card grades are less mysterious and have more meaning
  • Parents are aware of exactly what their child knows, is able to do, and next steps for progress
  • Parents know in what areas their child needs more support
  • Parents are empowered to increase their child's confidence and help their student set goals

For Teachers

  • Teachers know exactly where students stand in their progress toward learning targets and what support needs to be provided
  • Teachers of the same courses have aligned expectations and standards
  • Assessment results and collections of evidence help teachers determine when students need extra help and when they need more challenging work



SBL will allow me to have a classroom full of risk-takers, confident learners and students who are not afraid of failure.

Empowering Parents: Talking to your child in a Standards Based Classroom
  • What challenged you today?  What felt hard? 
  • Tell me about a time you felt happiest today. 
  • What are you most proud of today? 
  • Tell me about a high and low from today. 
  • Tell me about a choice you made in your learning today. 
  • Who did you help today?  Who helped you?
  • Tell me about time today/this week that you showed responsibility/respect? 
  • What goals are you working towards in (insert subject area)? 
  • Tell me about the best part of your day. 
  • What standards (skills) are you learning in (insert subject area)? 
  • What subject is your most and least favorite? Why?
  • What was the most interesting thing you learned today/this week?
  • What made you laugh today? 
  • What standards/skills do you feel you know so well you could teach the class?
  • What are you studying in school that most interests you?
  • What is your favorite time of the day in school?  (Dig deep- get past lunch, recess, and PE)
  • What did you share in your morning/class meeting today? 
  • What are you looking forward to learning in school in the next month/week/this year? 
  • What do you do at school when you get stuck or need help?
  • When do you feel most successful/unsuccessful at school?
  • If you were a teacher and could teach the class anything, what would you teach them?
  • How do you know when you have really learned something?  Give me an example from school today/this week. 
  • What made you laugh today?
  • What is something you learned today that surprised you?
  • How were you kind today?
  • Rate your day on a scale of 1-10. Why did you give it this rating?
  • How were you brave today?
  • Tell me your top 2 things from school today. Why are they your top 2?
  • If you had a camera at school today, what picture would you have taken?  Why?
  • Did you make yourself proud today? 
  • If your teacher could teach on only one subject, what would you want it to be?
  • What is something you heard today that surprised you? 
  • Tell me one way you showed perseverance/grit today.