Making the move to standards-based grading: How we did it & what we learned

Traditional letter grades have been around since the beginning of the 20th century. Today’s parents received As, Bs, and Cs from their teachers when they were in school, and most parents expect to see similar letters on their child’s report card.

Yet, for years my district—Alpine (UT) School District—struggled to justify our traditional grading model. We felt as though letter grades were losing meaning and leading to less personalized instruction. As someone who taught for many years, I watched traditional grading struggle to tell students, parents, and teachers the whole story. Simply put, it didn’t guide instruction.

We knew our grading style needed to change, and standards-based grading (SBG) fit what we were looking for. Still, with more than 80,000 students, a transition to SBG required complete buy-in and careful planning. Making the switch on such a large scale was uncomfortable, but well worth the results we are seeing. Throughout our switch to SBG, I compiled a list of tips, tricks, and benefits we discovered that might be useful for any other districts looking to make a similar change to their grading scale.…Read More