Standards Based Grading

Growth first, then grades

WSSB is transitioning our grading practices to more accurately reflect each student’s demonstration of their learning through standards-based grades. Grades communicate how students are progressing with their learning based on standards. Standards based grading aims at mastery so that learning and feedback are individualized, honest, and clear for all (parents, students, teachers).

The state has recently been charged schools to re-examine our grading practices to better reflect what students know and demonstrate. In Washington, we are required to assign an A through F letter grade on high school transcripts. For now, we’ll still be including the letter grade in some progress reports.

This shift to standards-based grading puts students first and considers improving equity in grading practices. Standards-based grades will better inform our student’s educational teams on where we need to focus on supporting student students in their growth. Traditional A through F grading has the potential for including non-standards based elements such as behavior, compliance, and sometimes is influenced by how a teacher feels about a student. The goal for students will be to invest in learning and not the grade. The reward of learning is learning, not the grade you receive.

It’s all about providing feedback on learning and growth.

Decades of research support that tradition letter grades are only effective at motivating a small number of individuals. In fact, the research on motivation shows that extrinsic rewards like grades have a greater potential to demotivate an individual. Think about a time you were learning a new skill, trick, or idea and said or thought something like, “hang on, I’ve almost got it...” Whether it was learning how to solve a math equation or fixing a broken household item, the more powerful motivation came from the process, not the outcome.

I hope that all WSSB students can find themselves more confident and persistent in any challenges they experience in school and life because learning never stops.

Standards Based Grading Levels of Proficiency

4 Advanced

Demonstrates complete understanding/application of skill or concept and deep learning of concepts of skills beyond the level explicitly taught

3 Proficient

Consistently demonstrates complete understanding and application of skill or concept

2 Progressing

Produces some elements demonstrating understanding and application of skill yet requires more evidence or consistency

1 Beginning

Provides minimal evidence or limited success in demonstrating and application of skill

* No Evidence: Student has not submitted or produced evidence of understanding/application of skill