Formative Assessment: Change Grading Categories to be Standards Based

Standards Based Grading

One of the biggest changes a teacher can make in using formative assessment is to convert the course grading to be standards-based. When I taught I had grading categories such as homework, tests, quizzes, and projects. My total grade for a student was a combination of these individual categories. However, after reading Marzano’s Transforming Classroom Grading, I changed my grading to be standards based.

I simply put the standard in as the major category in the grading program. So instead of the categories of homework, tests, quizzes, and projects, I had S1 (Standard 1), S2 (Standard 2), S3 (Standard 3), and S4 (Standard 4). I had to think about the real standards purpose for each homework, test, quiz, or project and then label it with that category. So I might have S1 as the category and then “graph reading quiz” as the description.

When parents came in and asked about their students’ grade, I no longer said, “He does poorly on quizzes” or “She does not do well on the project.” I said, “He has a low score on Standard 1” or “She is doing well on Standard 4.” The parents understood those comments as measuring their children’s progress toward a standard. The students understood that they were working on standards and that each homework, test, quiz, and project contributed to a standard.

So are you standards-based in your classroom? Does your grading reflect it? Do your students know how well they are progressing toward the standards by looking at their class grades?

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4 Responses to “Formative Assessment: Change Grading Categories to be Standards Based”


  1. 1 Rob Greer June 22, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    But this method doesn’t address individual assignments that address multiple standards. In other words, if elements of the “Note Taking” assignment cover both S1 and S3, how do you record that information–especially if the assignment questions represented 60% of S1, 30% of S3, and 10% both (combined)?

  2. 2 hgtuttle June 22, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    Rob,
    Grade each part separately and give it a full grade.
    Give S1 its own grade and S3 its own grade.
    Harry

  3. 3 chilet dimaya November 17, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    I agree that a standards based assessment will help our students more to succeed in classroom work.


  1. 1 Standards-Based Growth Report in Buffalo Area Schools « Education with Technology Trackback on April 17, 2007 at 12:28 am

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