Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My SBG Letter

This may or may not be of any interest to you, but this is what I hand out to my students along with their syllabus to discuss my version of Standards Based Grading.

Standards Based Assessment


            This class will be graded on a system known as “standards based assessment.”  Grades will be assigned for content knowledge based on understanding of the main standards needed in the course.  Thus, the grade for the class will accurately reflect the student’s understanding of the material from the class.
            This system has many positives for the student, teacher, and the student’s family.  Grades will be posted based on the concepts.  Seeing a 74% on the Chapter 4 test in the gradebook is not informative to any of the participating parties.  The student may have a wonderful grasp of three quarters of the material while missing only a single key concept or he could barely have a working knowledge of the entire chapter’s material.  On the other hand, an 80% on Trig Graphs is much more informative to all the stakeholders to show where the student may need to improve his understanding.
            The main goal of the class is to teach students the mathematical material for the course.  Thus, a student’s grade should reflect his knowledge and understanding of that material without being clouded by completion or participation grades, extra credit for material not related to concepts from class, or behavioral issues.  Any behavioral issues, nonparticipation, or incomplete homework will certainly be addressed, but will not be directly reflected in the grade for the class.
            Since mathematics often requires a good understanding of a topic before being able to work well with the following topic and because I wish for all students to understand all of the topics from class, I will give students the opportunity to retake assessments over concepts covered in class.  No graded assignment will be dismissed since every assignment is given for a purpose.  Retaking an assessment can help students more accurately show their understanding of the material and helps students to learn the material before getting too far ahead in the curriculum.  If a student has a bad day or does not fully understand the topic on the day of the quiz, he will have the opportunity to show his improved understanding at a later time.  I care less about when the material is fully grasped than the idea that it actually is understood at some point.  That being said, grades and understanding of concepts can be time sensitive, so students will need to complete all retakes in a timely manner.
            The new grade will completely replace the original grade.  Thus, students should never give up on the class, no matter how low his grade gets.  As long as he is keeping up with the material in class and working on reassessing the material for which his understanding has improved, an F in the class can quickly become an A as zeroes are replaced with better scores.  The grade is constantly in flux and should be viewed as such.  Until the final grading period, parents should concentrate on the individual grades to see what their child should work to improve rather than the overall grade for the course.


  • Students may retake only ONE section per day.
  • Students must retake the entire section (even if it is more than one question)
  • Students may retake each section two times (in addition to the original)
  • To have the retake ready for the following day, students must sign up before 8pm (according to Google’s clock).
  • Students should be able to show proof of work done to improve understanding since the original assessment to merit a retake
  • Students may take it in during encore or before or after school.
  • The new grade replaces the old grade entirely (whether it’s better or worse) to reflect the current understanding.
  • Retake questions will assess the same concept, but may be drastically different in format or more difficult than the original.  Students should be prepared to demonstrate mastery of the topic, not just hope for an easier question.
  • Students must take all the retakes for this semester before the date to be announced.


The procedure for signing up for retakes will be done online.  Students should look at the teacher’s website for detailed instructions.

1 comment:

  1. Nice syllabus. Thanks for sharing it online, so other teachers can use it as a reference. "Students should be able to show proof of work done to improve understanding since the original assessment to merit a retake" --- this is particularly important for making sure that students understand the materials. Good luck with your new school year!

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