Well I have started SBG (Standards Based Grading) with my three 8th grade sections and I have to say I’m loving it – other than the fact that it is new and requiring a lot of extra work. But the level of excitement with the kids and my level of excitement has made the hard work worth it so far – oh and the fact that I know with certainty who understands slope and y-intercept and who doesn’t!
So here is a synopsis of how it works
1) I devised the year into 30 concepts for 8th grade (mainly algebra in the state of MN)
2) I decided to go with a 5 point scale (kind of) – on any given quiz the students can earn anywhere from a 0 to a 4. Here is what each means (*borrowed/stole from a teacher friend who I’m getting LOTS of great ideas from about SBG.)
3) Since the scores only go from 1 to 4 on a quiz, in order for students to earn a 5 (A – I’ve mastered it) they need to earn two 4s on a concept. To me it shows that if a students can get two perfect papers on a concept they know their stuff!
4) In order for a student to be proficient in a concept to where they can stop taking the quizzes – they need a sum of 7+, at least one score of 3 (might change that to two scores of 3 – haven’t decided yet), and they cannot end on a 2 or lower.
5) Students keep track of their own scores in their concept quiz folder (which I keep in my room). If they get an A (two 4s) I give them a stamp that says Math Master! (again, not my idea). They are loving it.
Things to work on –
1) I still need to develop a way for kids to let me know they are coming in to reassess on a concept.
2) Haven’t decided if I’m going to record their highest score, an average score, or their last score into the gradebook.
3) I have done away with homework grades, instead I assign practice! I don’t grade it, but I need to come up with a better system for keeping track of who has completed their “practice” and who hasn’t. Mainly for my own record (and the parents when they ask why so and so hasn’t mastered the concepts.)
4) Not for sure what I’m going to do with the student that needs to come in to reassess (since they haven’t been proficient in a concept) and doesn’t. Fingers crossed that maybe it won’t happen?!? <wishful thinking font>
So in conclusion – I know I’m not perfect and there isn’t one “right” method for SBG, but to me, it just makes sense. Everyone learns at different speeds and knowing someone got a 75% on chapter 1 quiz tells me nothing about what they have learned. Baby steps in the right direction. Oh – and my baby steps for next year (and probably this year if I continue on this insane path of trying too many new things in one year – but again they make sense) is INB (interactive notebooks) – darn the blogging word for putting these amazing ideas into my head <sarcasm font – or at least I think I’m joking, I’ll let you know if I’m still alive at the end of the year>