Andrew Stadel’s Farewell Letter to Points

Andrew Stadel has written a very touching, almost eye-watering farewell to points in his classroom.  Who am I kidding?  We both aren’t sad to see points exit our assessment systems, but the metaphor is great.  It is a must read, even for those who are committed to keeping their extra credit assignments (for points of course).  Read his post here: Hey points, meet my new friend SBG

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Student Tracking Sheet for SBG Learning Targets

Here is the checklist I created for students to keep track of their learning targets:

Learning target checklist

While I created it in Pages, the idea was stolen from Dan Meyer and others.  The circles are for “stop-lighting” their progress on the learning targets.

  • Bottom Circle — Red — Need major work to show proficiency
  • Middle Circle — Yellow — Need minor work to show proficiency
  • Greed Circle — Green — You got it!
  • Square — Stamp or sticker — This is to track mastery after they have repeatedly showed proficiency on the learning target

Of course, on the learning target quiz, I assign a color and give feedback for each learning target.  I would love to know what you think about this approach.

SBG: Converting to a Percentage Grade

Like most of us, my district requires that we assign a grade at the end of each quarter. Not just a letter grade, but a percentage.  Before I started using a standards-based assessment system, my quarterly percentage would be a mix of homework, quizzes, tests, classwork, etc.  Not very indicative of what a student learned, but boy did it measure how well a student “played school.” This year, I have come up with this conversion for my required percentage grade:

  • 90% of the quarter grade comes from being proficient on my core learning targets (proficient learning targets/total learning targets)
  • 5% of the quarter grade comes from mastering the core learning targets (mastered learning targets/total learning targets)
  • 5% of the quarter grade comes from being proficient with my “synthesis” learning targets (same calculation)

A student can demonstrate proficiency with a core learning target on a weekly quiz, in a conversation with myself, or various other ways that could be classified as “formative assessment.”  Students demonstrate mastery on core learning targets when they repeatedly are successful on multiple types of assessments, both formative and summative.  Finally, students will also encounter “synthesis” learning targets.  These are multiple core learning targets all rolled up into one non-routine, complex problem.  I included these to assess students’ abilities to apply their knowledge of how the core learning targets go together.

While I am still convinced that this isn’t a perfect system, I am excited to see how it plays out this school year.  Alright, I’m open and ready for critiques.

Standards-Based Grading: A Collabrative Effort

After entering my second year of standards-based grading and coming into contact with some great minds through Twitter and the edublogosphere, I thought it would be a great idea to set up a place where we can share and critique all aspects of our standards-based assessment systems. This site will be open to contributors as well as the general readership for comments. I’ve found that most aspects of teaching can be greatly improved when collaboration takes place. And who doesn’t like some constructive feedback, right?

Contributors will be able to post about standards-based assessment in general, and will also be able to upload certain file types (i.e. PDF, doc, etc.) to share their specific standards-based creations.  This will be a work in progress, but the ball has to get rolling before it can pick up its steam.  I look forward to seeing some interesting and innovative ideas to make our assessment practices useful to both our students and ourselves.  As Nathan put it, I heart SBG.