Standards Based Grading

I heard an interesting presentation/discussion from one of my classmates on standards based grading (SBG) today. I’ve heard people mention the term before, but I previously didn’t know what it meant in the classroom. The idea sounds fairly neat, although it also sounds like a lot of work. Essentially instead of grading students on points, students are assessed on targeted standards each unit. Unfortunately the devil is really in the details for SBG & it’s hard to explain those on a blog.

Right now, it doesn’t sounds like there are strong resources for modeling physics teachers and SBG. I think that will improve rapidly. For now though, I don’t think investing in SBG is time-effective.

About integratedintention

I teach Honors Physics and AP Physics at Heritage Hall!

Posted on 21 June 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Hey there,

    Just one opinion here, but I think investing in SBG is both time-effective and a great thing to do for your students (which is, obviously, even more important than being time effective). It’s definitely worth the time investment, and it saves tons of time and energy during the year by being more efficient in your feedback cycles, conversations with students, and stress management of students.

    I teaching physics in Delaware using Modeling Instruction, use SBG, and write a blog about it. Here are some posts about what I do, including the standards that I use with Modeling Physics, how I grade, etc:

    In total, I have 23 posts on it. I’m also always excited to talk more about how to do SBG well in a Modeling Physics class, so just let me know if you’d be interested in that. We can talk more here, or move over to email or twitter if you’d like.

    Good luck!


    P.S. There are lots of other modelers using SBG. You can read more on Frank’s blog, or the Pedagogue Padawan blog, or Josh’s blog, or the Shawn, who has since gone to a Modeling Workshop’s, blog. Those were just the first few I thought about, but there are many more teachers blogging about using SBG in Modeling Physics classes.

  2. Invest, invest, invest. 🙂 I won’t tell you that it’s easier, faster, or less work. I’ll tell you that it’s unquestionably better for your kids. Not just for their physics learning (it is, though), but for them as people. Kids that get an hour a day (or whatever) break from the competitive, adversarial, high-stakes, product-over-process mill that school can be? That’s huge for them.

  3. integratedintention

    Thanks for the responses! I guess I should have mentioned that I’m moving to a new school next year and I don’t want to “make waves.” So that’s a big reason for my “wait and see” attitude right now.

    I definitely see how SBG has the potential to benefit students – but I’m not convinced (likely because I’m just not that familiar with SBG) that it is the best thing to invest time into. Could you point me to solid research on SBG?

    At least for me, I feel like there is a limit to how many major new ideas I can incorporate into my class each year. Besides modeling, I’m part of a group at ASU finishing up an action research project on teaching explicit problem solving/how students problem solve more generally (which I think is super important!).

    I recently got interested in problem based learning (a la New Tech High) and am also trying to incorporate mindset into my classroom as well (Kelly, did you see Allison’s action research presentation last year? It was very neat!).

    So I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m using SBG in a couple of years from now, but I feel like I’m in the learning vs. implementing stage right now.

    • It’s definitely something that you want to be ready for (well, most people like to get ready for something before leaping : ). Look at _a lot_ of blogs, including other disciplines. See how they do it – what do you like/hate? Subscribe to ActiveGrade’s SBG educational materials. As the term goes on, think about how it’d look with SBG. Have fun! Good luck!

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