NHS Biology - Norman Public School

NHS Biology
Our Experiment with
Standards Based
How did it begin?
Where I was at end of last year:
• Most of my time spent grading work that was
very late, poorly done, irrelevant to students
• Only 15 to 20% of students turning work in on
• Many disappointing final grades
• Grades did not reflect student knowledge
• Felt out of touch with students and their
Then along came….
Think Thank Thunk
Dealing with the fear of being a boring teacher.
Standards-Based Grading is a technique devoted
to giving students formative control over their
own progress (and grade). It requires, at least,
a fundamental change in the behavior of your
grade book, …….
• Grades are the reporting tool we use to
communicate with students, parents, and other
academic institutions about the quality of our
products. So what would it mean if these were
meaningless, inflated, or otherwise
uncommunicative? Disaster, that’s what. Short of
being alarmist, I would argue that this is what we
have going today. Our grades are polluted; an “A”
will be given out just to say, “Aw, you showed up
today.” I’ve done it. (An F may simply mean you
did not jump through the hoops correctly)
blog clip….
• M: “What do the grades in your gradebook mean to students and parents?”
S: “Not much I suppose, I mean the kids took the test, shouldn’t they
remember what was on it?”
M: “Maybe. But do they?”
S: “No.”
M: “What if you put your content standards in the gradebook and graded
proficiency with specific ideas, rather than indexing by assessment tool?”
S: “Well, that would mean that students and parents would have a running
record of their student’s understandings of the major topics in the course.
They would know where they were proficient and lacking. I could use that
information to edit my teaching, and they could use it to edit their studying.”
M: “Yup, ‘Quiz 3′ doesn’t mean much, but ‘Can formulate a testable
hypothesis.” sure does.
S: “OMG. I think I need to go to the bathroom.”
The Grade Book
Does my grade book mean anything to anyone other than myself?
• Homework is practice.
• Grades should be dynamic reflecting student’s
current abilities.
• Student should be able to self-assess
• Larger summative assessments and final
become much more meaningful
• Entries in your grade book should reflect
content standards not assessment titles
Thank You, Shawn Cornelly!
• I began to read, search, think
• Blogged with him and others
• Developed some foundational
• Began to talk with administrators
• Prepared to do my own experiment
in secret
• And then…
What we did:
• Grading groups changed from daily work and
assignments, quizzes, tests and a final
• To:
– Summative Formative Assessments 80%
– Summative Final Exam 20%
– Learning Activities 0%
– Formative Assessments 0%
What we did:
• Began to look at our assignments and
activities differently
• Not as a topic or unit but rather as an
• Necessary? Not?
• What is this task truly about?
• How will it benefit the student’s learning?
• What am I truly evaluating?
What we do:
Formative Assessments-• Still do most of the same activities
• These are seen as “learning activities” to
develop the skills and knowledge
• May choose only a segment to measure a
single objective as formative
• Other more specific tasks ( PASS objectives)
• Use a 1-4 scale
What we do:
Summative Assessments--• Quizzes, Tests
• Any assignment that we feel students should
be prepared to do successfully – lab reports,
free writes, CPS tasks
What we do:
• Assess progress by objective
– Benchmark
– Targeted objective(s) assessment
– Specific task items on learning activities
What we do:
• Students may REDO - not just correct workthereby REMEDIATING THEIR LEARNING.
• Students come in to discuss what they may
not have understood previously and then are
given the opportunity to demonstrate new
understanding and learning.
• The new grade is not merely averaged in but
REPLACES previous grade showing new
What we think:
Grade reflects the knowledge of the student
not their effort.
Student’s grades are a more realistic reflection of their
There are no penalties for being late, messy, etc.
There are no bonuses or rewards.
Summative assessments are culminating events that
measure the skills and objectives being presented in
the classroom each day.
It gives the students a more true reflection of what
they know. And it provides re-learning opportunities.
The Giant Gradebook!!
25 process skills objectives
13 content objectives
30 learning activities
13 summative assessments
81 entries!
The Giant Gradebook!!
The Giant Gradebook!!
The Giant Gradebook!!
The Giant Gradebook!!
What we think:
I feel free!!!
I no longer feel punitive or partial
I feel impartial and objective about student grades.
I now feel I know much better who actually knows and who
• It makes instruction more individualized in that there is no
test and then everyone moves on.
• It let's me accept the fact that we don't all master the
content at the same time so I should not take points off for
students who take longer.
• It gives students opportunities to continue towards mastery
with reteaching and support.
Does this drive my instruction?
• Upfront, it was an overwhelming endeavor to
allow myself mentally to entertain the idea of
relaxing my teaching practices & philosophies
temporarily to try this thing out. But I am a
team player, and I love to learn new things,
and I could see the potential, even if I did have
some initial concerns...It was hard in the
beginning, but I tried it, and ultimately I found
that my initial concerns were selfish and had
nothing to do with student learning.
• An ESL student, but not part of the program, had an F and had been
performing very poorly ( far below 50%) on assessments all
semester. In the final weeks of the semester fearing the very real
possibility of failing biology a second time, she began to come in
and work with the teacher to review many of the concepts and
especially work on assessment skills. She came in before school,
lunch and for an hour or more almost everyday. She retook
assessments and was doing very well. The more success she saw
the more she was there and the more she worked - with the
teacher and independently at home as well. She converted her
very low F to a B going into the final! She had learned enough to do
so much better on the final exam that she was able to maintain a C
on her final semester grade. She was thrilled as was I. She was very
proud when I introduced her to Dr. Chesley and shared her/our
• here is nothing better than having a kid who has been
making D’s and F’s make a C and think they have won the
lottery! I have about 5 girls I have been working with...I
have told them that I know they struggle with selfconfidence, with study skills, and with test-taking anxiety. 4
of the 5 have been consistently been making higher scores
since I have spent time studying with them, and showing
them that with a little time on the front end, their grades
are much better. I have also told them that it is OK to redo....They have also been coming in to Re-Study and Retake. Iit about makes me cry when I give them their grade
and a huge smile breaks out on their face. They did it. They
earned it. They know it.
• Students balk a little in the first few weeks, but I can honestly say that now
that they are used to it, and I see the “wheels turning” in their heads
when they receive a grade....they understand that they got a grade
because they knew the material or they didn’t. There is no longer any
argument from them. They accept that they are responsible for their
learning and for ultimately illustrating this “learning” on their summative
assessments. Sadly, some of them still just “accept” the grade with no
further action. It takes some of them longer than others to DECIDE to do
something about it. But - they ARE slowly one-by -one coming around, in
that I mean more of them are coming in for remediation. Another
awesome thing I would like to share!! I created a project in which they had
to practice study techniques while reviewing certain material previously
covered, and expanding on that same topic. At the end of the project, they
then had to REFLECT on which study technique they felt was most useful
to them. I now see many of them using their DEFAULT study technique to
prepare, not only for remediation purposes, but even better, for the inital
summative assessment!!! YAY!
7 Reasons for SBG
(Educational Leadership Oct 2008/vol 66/#2)
Grades should have meaning
We need to challenge the status quo
We can control grading practices
Reduces meaningless paperwork
Helps teachers adjust instruction
Teaches what quality looks like
Launch pad to other reforms
Formative Assessment
• a process that provides feedback to adjust
ongoing teaching and learning to improve
students’ achievement of core content.
• provide students with clear learning targets,
examples and models of strong and weak
work, regular descriptive feedback, and the
ability to self-assess, track learning, and set
(Adapted from Council of Chief State School Officers, FAST SCASS)
Tools for formative assessment
Non-graded quizzes
minute papers
exit tickets
written assignments
concept maps
progress monitoring
performance assessment
scoring guides
weekly reports
focused questions
learning logs
learning probes
item analyses of
summative assessments
What now:
Refocus, Rethink, Renew
Simplify the set up of the gradebook
Build targeted formative assessments
How to get more student buy in
Define objectives to students more clearly
Build in feedback system to students
Define limits to remediation
Revise and refine summative assessments
How will this integrate with Common Core
Very much a work in progress
The Student Report
24 of 36 retested an average of 2.75
89% said they improved
83% restudied before retaking
96% said this process gave them a better understanding of
the material
• 26% liked activities not counting toward grade
– Felt lack of pressure, stress and helplessness
• 17% indifferent
• 57% were unaware of this policy
• 41% said this discouraged them from doing work
– Lacked motivation
• 88% of the Formative grades aligned well with Summative
• Classroom Assessment &Grading that Work
– R. Marzano
• Formative Assessment & Standards Based
Grading (Classroom Strategies)– R. Marzano
• How to Grade for Learning – K. O’Connor
• Fair Isn’t Always Equal – R. Wormeli
• Differentiation - Differentiation
• Developing Standards-Based Report Cards
– T. Guskey, J. Bailey
• Science Formative Assessment – P. Keeley

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