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
Introducing Standards Based Learning in FISD
We are thrilled to share that in 2022-23 all students in Kindergarten, First, Second, and Third 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.
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.
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.
The Benefits of Standards-Based Grading
- 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
- 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
- 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