At Science Leadership Academy, students receive narratives from teachers along with their report cards on the first and third quarter. However, the school began to implement standard-based evaluations along with report cards for the other two quarters. Standards are used by the teacher to evaluate the student’s performance based on a set of explicit skills. The goal is to measure the students’ progress in those skills.
We have selected two students and one teacher to weigh in on this topic.
Junior Manna-Symone Middlebrooks
Science Leadership Academy provides a unique learning environment centered around the success of its students. Apart of this environment is a non-traditional approach to grading students.
Standards-based grading makes learning more accessible to students of every learning type. Because core classes are broken down into intermediate goals, students are able to work toward accomplishing each goal.
Take, for example, a United States History class, where gaining the skills to properly analyze and apply information found in primary sources is a standard. Through a variety of assignments and activities, students have the ability to grow this skill and make improvements when needed. At no point in time is fully reaching this goal unobtainable for students. This is due to the standard being assessed multiple times in a variety of ways, that cater to a variety of learners.
Having the ability to get the best of both in this situation, is unique to Science Leadership Academy. This opportunity sets a path for success for students and makes them more marketable in their endeavors.
SLA has implemented the standards-based grading in with the “old fashioned” system of A, B, C, D, & F grading, which I believe is the only possible way to still count the beneficial things from both grading systems. If the things like effort, creativity, etc. can be intertwined with standards based grading, then we have a winning grading system that allows for students to do better in areas that may not be included in standards in order to improve their grades, while also being able to observe areas that need work and areas that they do well in for each class.
There is no one perfect grading system, but the mixture of both the standards and the elements that lie outside of the standards, is simply excellent and very effective. If we don’t evaluate the necessary skills of students, then it is harder for them to improve, but if we totally ignore the extra efforts and skills that don’t fall under standards, then we don’t evaluate correctly.