Standards-Based Grading — Practical Strategies

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Leaders: Elizabeth Dowdell (physics teacher, Urban Assembly Maker Academy, Manhattan)  Sarah Prendergast (math teacher, NYC iSchool)

Standards-Based Grading (SBG) begins with standards that teachers author/choose/revise and that they apply in their classrooms. Rather than a top-down directive, these standards are a helpful tool that teachers use to make expectations transparent to students. Instead of receiving a traditional letter or number grade on an assessment, SBG allows teachers to provide students with actionable feedback on their mastery of a set of specific skills and content knowledge. With SBG, conversations become more focused on learning itself rather than report card grades. SBG can also be used to help meet the demands of Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, and Danielson’s Framework (especially component 3d).

In this workshop, we will share our experiences developing and implementing Standards-Based Grading systems in our classrooms. During the first part of the workshop, we will model how standards can be developed into learning targets and influence the creation of an assessment. Participants are encouraged to bring an assessment (quiz, test, lab report, project, etc) from their own class to use to engage in this planning process. During the second part of the workshop, participants will have the opportunity to collaborate on different aspects of developing or refining Standards-Based Grading systems for their own classroom.

Liz teaches physics and Sarah teaches math; in addition to using SBG in their own classrooms, both have experience implementing SBG with interdisciplinary teams. Thus the focus of the workshop will be on a variety of disciplines, and the strategies and tools considered will be useful to any teacher, irrespective of subject.