Standards-Based Grading » Standards-Based Grading Frequently Asked Questions

Standards-Based Grading Frequently Asked Questions

Nampa School District Guide to Standards-Based Grading FAQ

How does standards-based grading differ from traditional grading?

 

A standards-based grading system measures a student’s mastery of content standards by assessing their most recent and consistent level of performance. Thus, a student who may have struggled when they first encountered new material at the beginning of a course may still be able to demonstrate mastery of the standard by the end of a grading period.
 
In a traditional grading system, a student’s performance over an entire quarter is averaged together. Early quizzes, classwork, or tests that may have been scored low are averaged with more proficient scores later in the course, resulting in a lower overall grade than the current performance indicates.
 
Traditional Grading System Standards Based
An emphasis on averaging a percentage score over the grading period. Emphasis on looking at the most recent evidence of student work to determine a grade.
Scores on quizzes, tests, projects, attendance, behavior, or other criteria are added and divided to determine a percentage up to 100. Scores on assessments are given on a 5-point scale, with five deviations between scores, based on a clearly defined performance rubric.
Points are often added or deducted based on the student’s behavior, work completion or participation. No points are added or taken off. Students are graded based on what they know and are able to do.
Student behavior is often mixed in with academics to determine the grade. Student behavior is reported separately based on a specific set of criteria.
Teachers determine their own criteria for what constitutes an “A”, based on a variety of factors. Teachers work collaboratively to determine proficient work on the standards using a clear rubric.
 
 

What scale are students graded on? What do the numbers mean?

4 Exceeds Student exceeds proficiency of the standard.  
3 Proficient Student demonstrates proficiency of the standard.    
2 Approaching Proficiency Student demonstrates partial proficiency of the standard. 
1 Beginning Student demonstrates limited or no understanding of the standard.
NE - No Evidence No evidence of learning is available for assessment.  
 

 

What does NE mean?

 

“NE” means there is “No Evidence” of learning. There is an insufficient amount of evidence to provide a grade.
 
 

What does it mean to be “proficient” and what does it mean to “exceed” proficiency in a standard? 

 

A student is considered to be proficient when they have acquired the skill that is described by the standard.
 
When a student shows in-depth understanding and application of skills beyond proficiency, they are exceeding a standard.
 
Examples of exceeding proficiency may include: applications for real-world use, teaching another person the material, using information to solve problems in a different context, explaining connections between ideas, demonstrating a unique insight, and/or creative application of skills. 
 
 

How much evidence is needed to determine that a student is proficient on a standard?  

A minimum of three data points in the grade book will be used to demonstrate proficiency on an essential standard. 
 
 

Is homework part of my child’s grade?

 
Teachers evaluate student performance on learning tasks, or homework, on a daily basis. Teachers analyze student work to determine growth and improvement toward proficiency of a specific skill or content. When assigning a final score, each teacher has the responsibility to take into account all the work a student completes during a quarter or semester. If a student chooses not to do an assignment, not only are they missing an opportunity to practice a skill or apply a concept, they also miss an opportunity to display mastery of an outcome to their teacher. 
 
 

How will GPA be determined for my High School student?

 
At the end of each semester standards-based grades at the high school will convert to a traditional scale using the following pattern.
 
  • A score of “3” and “4” in each of the essential standards = A
  • A score of “2” in any one essential standard (with grades of 3 or 4 in the remaining standards = B
  • A score of “2” in more than one essential standard (no score of “1”) = C
  • Two-thirds of the essential standards are a score of “2” or higher. Student has standard(s) that are “1” = D
  • A score of “1” or NE in more than one-third of the essential standards in a course = F
 
The GPA scale for Nampa School District is the same as any other Idaho district; grades from other schools will transfer to our system and our grades will transfer out. A GPA looks exactly the same in a traditional grading system and a standards-based system.
 
 

Does a score of “1” on a standard mean that my child will fail the course?

 
If a student receives 1’s or 2’s, it means his/her work is not yet meeting the standards. Keep in mind that learning begins at a “1”. Students need to build their skills and practice to become proficient. For those students who continue to struggle to meet the essential standards, a number of academic interventions will be offered. One benefit of standards-based grading is that areas where students need support become clearly evident and intervention can be specifically tailored to individual student needs.
 
 

How does standards-based grading prepare students for college and careers?

 
Standards-based grading gives students ownership of their learning, creating an awareness that leads to self-motivation and self-advocacy, and with the academic skills to meet the rigor of college courses.
 
 
 

What schools are piloting standards-based grading and when does it roll out to the entire district?

NSD's secondary standards-based grading pilot will begin in the 19-20 school year and have representation at the middle and high school level. Schools at the elementary level have been participating in standard-based grading since 2014. Standards-based grading will be adopted districtwide in fall 2020.

Which middle schools are piloting standards-based grading?

  • East Valley Middle School
  • Lonestar Middle School
 

Which courses in the high schools are part of the pilot?

  • Skyview: English and visual arts
  • Nampa High: English, social studies and visual arts
  • Columbia: Agriculture, photography, broadcasting, information technology, and family and consumer science
 

 

 
 

What are the big ideas of standards-based grading?

 

There are six big ideas around standards-based grading. 

  • Grades and reports should be based on clearly agreed-upon essential standards. 
  • Evidence used for grading should be valid. 
  • Grading should be based on established success criteria. 
  • Not everything should be included in grades. 
  • Avoid grading based on (mean) averages. 
  • Focus on academic achievement, and report behavior factors separately.