Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Taking the Plunge

but I still have questions....

I am determined to implement some form of SBG next year.  Here are the lingering questions I have (for now).

1.  How do you handle SBG within the frameworks of "grading cycles".  In other words, if a student hasn't yet mastered a concept, but the grading period is ending and report cards are coming out, how do you handle their reassessment?

2.  If I'm going to follow Dan Meyer's format for SBG and allow students to get a "5" after they get two 4's, meaning they don't ever have to assess that concept again, how do I make sure they retain the knowledge?  In other words, can I not spiral back?

3.  Also, if I follow Dan's format and don't allow a student's "grade" on an assessment to drop, and I choose to try and spiral back, how can I hold them accountable for the material at a later date?  In other words, let's say I've assessed a concept twice in the first grading period, and student made a 3 on the first assessment and a 4 on the second assessment, but then later in the third grading period I want to assess that concept again, what motivation does the student have to do well?  Because I'm counting it as a new grade on this grading period?  But if they're a student who made two 4's before and thus received a 5 assuring they would never have to assess that concept again, are they exempt from my assessment for retention where a student who never receive a 5 is?  Or does assessing for retention go against the tenets of SBG?  (I hope this rambling question made some sense...)

4.  What rubric do you use?  4 point?  5 point?  10 point?  What are your descriptors for each level in your rubric?  Do you have to translate your rubric to a grade for reporting purposes?  If so, how do you do it?

I am absolutely in love with the idea of SBG and am so excited to try it out.  My real reservations come from making it work while still having to report grades in a standard format (100 point scale).


  1. My suggestion is to start in pieces. You can define your standards without going full-on 0-4, 0-5, or 0-10. The grading scale is a side issue...defining and measuring specific learning targets is where the meat and potatoes of SBG are.

    BUT if you really want to go there...either your grading software needs to support the alternate scale or you need to be REALLY CLEAR to students & parents about what you're doing and how their grade is calculated.

    1. Thanks so much! I'm soooooooo excited about SBG! And I'm most excited about the whole process of defining standards and coming up with ways to measure student success on those standards that are meaningful for me and my students...
      I want to tackle the grading thing, too, though, because I'm tired of grade inflation, grade grubbing, and feeling like my grading is completely arbitrary and not reflective of my teaching or their learning AT ALL.....