Posted in LEAD

Making the Jump to SBG

We have officially entered into fall, and our feet are metaphorically “wet” with Standards Based Grading. This Tuesday, the LEAD team met and discussed our progress towards our building goals in both heterogenous and homogenous groups. Many of these conversations focused around SBG: How is it going? What has changed in your class? How are you managing your grade book? What successes have you had? Challenges? 

Jamie Karavouzis had some powerful insights into how to make this system work in her grade book. Like many, she has an “essential skills” category set up, and in this category, there are just 5 assignments (1 for each essential skill). The students have several attempts to show mastery of each skill. As they progress, their grade for this single assignment changes (instead of her just adding grade after grade and computing an average).

Here is her rubric (thanks for sharing, Jamie!). While your skills will be different (not everyone is lucky enough to have the pleasure of teaching the Little Wildcat teachers how to teach!), the concept can be applied. If you notice the table on the top of her rubric, she is keeping track of student progress. So, if on Teach Day 1 they are novice teachers and demonstrate a “Level 2” in terms of skill evaluation, that is temporarily affecting their grades, but may not ultimately. If by Teach Day 5 the students are demonstrating a “Level 4” in terms of skill evaluation, they have shown mastery! That Level 2 from the beginning of the term does not need to be factored into their grades any longer.

What is important to note about this type of grading is that right now you may not have a lot of As in your class. That is OK! They should still be progressing. This whole system, however, encourages a growth mindset and gives students the tools to improve.

Let’s go back to Jamie’s class, for example. She is teaching a block, so some of her students are starting to sweat because they are not getting As in her class. So today, she had the kids meet in their teaching teams, go back to the rubric, and set team and individual goals pertaining to what they were going to do to get their score for their next Teach Day to a level 4. Now THAT is some powerful and relevant goal setting!

As we approach the end of the term, here are some things to think about:

  • How is your current grading system recognizing student growth?
  • Are you giving kids the opportunity to develop a growth mindset in your class?
  • Can kids use your essential skills rubric to create their own plan for success?

If you want to talk about how to set up your grade book to align more with the SBG philosophy, I am happy to help (Becky, not Jamie…Jamie has enough of her own grade books to deal with)!

Thanks for reading!



Teaching and Learning Facilitator at Wheeling High School English Teacher Apple Teacher

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