This class is based on a method of assessment called Standards-Based Grading. The goal of this method is to have your numerical/letter grade at the end of a term represent your mastery of the subject. Since this type of grading is so different from what you have likely experienced before, I’ve included this sheet to help you interpret your progress in the class.
During this year, you will be learning many topics but rather than using a point system to record scores on various assignments, quizzes and tests and then averaging these points together, you must demonstrate your level of proficiency on various learning standards or goals. For example, instead of getting one grade for a quiz that may cover many topics, you will be scored on individual learning goals such as, “I can interpret/draw position vs. time graphs for an object moving with constant velocity.”
To help you take control of your own learning, you be given a full list of the content standards for the topic arranged in a grid so you can track your scores for each outcome. This way you can identify where you need more help or effort, can ask specific questions and take specific actions to develop your understanding and thus improve. I will be using a web based grade reporting service to help you keep in touch with your progress. I will also be tracking individual student and overall class outcomes, modifying instruction or providing additional support as needed. As we move through a topic, new quizzes will test further outcomes for the topic and there will also be opportunities to show achievement on earlier outcomes that you have not yet showed mastery. At the end of the topic, we will do a topic test.
Your Standing on Each Objective
After an assessment, I will indicate your progress on each objective using a 0 – 2 number scale.
- 0: No mastery has been shown.
- 1: Developing mastery. This score could indicate that you are missing part of a conceptual understanding, and/or that you have made an error in reasoning or in your process.
- 2: Mastery has been shown. This score shows you have given evidence of understanding the important things about the objective and can explain themn to others.
Your score on each standard can always go up or down as new data is collected. When it comes time to translate your mastery into a number grade, the most recent measurements will count most. Don’t worry, though! If your conceptual understanding is solid, you will be able to update your standing quickly and easily on subsequent assessments.
The content grade will be assigned based on descriptors of achievement only. Factors such as lateness of work, effort, attitude, participation, and attendance will be assessed on a separate conduct standards.
New information showing additional learning will replace old information. Grades will reflect the most recent learning. You may re-attempt assessments provided that you have made an effort to engage in additional learning (e.g., tutoring, additional practice, test corrections, etc.). In addition, an alternative assessment may be accepted if the work is pre-contracted between you and me. There is no deadline for reassessments. You will always (time permitting) have a chance to try again with each skill. You must remember that the longer you leave between when we cover the material in class and your assessment the more difficult it is for you to review and the more likely you will miss out on the opportunity.
Three Levels of Content Standards
Level 1 (Bronze) standards are essential definitions that you must show complete mastery of before you can get credit for any other work. This means that you MUST achieve mastery on all on Level 1 standards to be credited more than C- for the unit
Level 2 (Silver) standards are the core of the course. As you display mastery of these standards your grade will move from C- to B+. If you have not mastered enough level 2 standards you will not get credit for any level 3 standards. You have to master a high enough proportion of level 2 standards to be eligible for an A. These minimum cut offs will vary from unit to unit
For Level 3 (Gold) standards, you will need to display mastery on at least some (but not all) of the Level 3 standards to attain an A
At all times you will have available either a hard copy in the classroom or in an online gradebook of an up to date record of your current achievement on the standards in the course. The scores will be: Blank (meaning you have not yet been assessed for this standard), 0 (You have been assessed but there was no evidence of any mastery), 1or 2 (see above). You can meet with me individually to discuss your progress at anytime and towards the end of the unit you can ask for an indication of your current grade for that unit.
In addition to Content Standards there will be Laboratory & Science Skills Standards and Conduct Standards. During the course you will do laboratory and enquiry investigations to in order to develop practical skills. Scientific Reasoning and Lab skills will be assessed on the same three point rubric as content standards. You are expected to maintain a high standard of conduct in the classroom. Student behavior will be assessed against a set of standards that can be accessed via my website.
Report Card Grades
Each quarter grade will be calculated according to the following percentages
- Content Standards 70%
- Laboratory & Investigation Standards 15%
- Conduct standards 15%
For each semester there will be a cumulative semester test worth 20% of the final grade
The whole focus of standards based grading is to help students build proficiency and if it becomes apparent that it would help student learning there may be slight changes to aspects of this grading policy.