3 - SBG vs Traditional

The point of sending a child to school is for that child to learn, not to get a grade.  Grading is just part of the accounting mechanism for learning. Traditional grading was established without any agreement on what grades mean as a means to sort students.  According to Susan Brookhart (2011) standards-based grading is based on the premises that a) grades should reflect student achievement of intended learning outcomes and b) grading policies should support and motivate student effort and learning.  Because ISR believes that all children are capable of achieving high standards, the move to SBG is fundamental to our success.

SBG requires several fundamental shifts from traditional practice, as outlined below.  

 Traditional Grading System       SBG System
 Grades are what students earn Grades show what students learn
Based on assessment methods (e.g., quizzes, tests, homework, projects). One grade/entry is given per assessment.    Based on learning goals and performance standards.  One grade/entry is given per learning goal.
Assessments are based on a percentage system.  Criteria for success may be unclear.Standards are criterion or proficiency-based.  Criteria and targets are made available to students ahead of time.
Use an uncertain mix of assessment, achievement, effort and behavior to determine the final grade.  May use late penalties and extra credit.Measures achievement only OR separates achievement from effort/behavior.  No penalties or extra credit given.
Everything goes in the grade book - regardless of purpose.Selected assessments (e.g., tests, quizzes, projects) are used for grading purposes.
Include every score, regardless of when it was collected.  Assessments record the average - not the best- work.Emphasize the most recent evidence of learning when grading.
Teachers respond when students are receiving a low grade or do not perform well on an assignment or test.  Time is more purposeful because teachers can clearly pinpoint what students are struggling with and provide the focused support they need to learn the standards.
Extra credit may be used to provide students and opportunity to raise their grade.  The extra credit activities may or may not be related to standards in which students are experiencing difficulty.Students who are experiencing difficulty are provided extra time and support.  To raise their grade, students are expected to demonstrate higher levels of understanding.

Source: Singapore American School