Update on standards-based grading plans: don’t forget the 3 P’s

I’ve updated my list of biology standards slightly over the past few days.  The latest version with some explanatory notes can be seen here.

The motivation for the changes came from a great post by Paula White. She inspired me to add a couple more standards that are less about content and more about community. She reminded me that I should be assessing the 3P’s: performance, progress, and process. I had a lot of performance standards, which are easy to write for an upper level science class, but was lacking in the progress (self-assessment, metacognition) and process (group work, attitude, etc.) standards. I added two more standards and combined two others so that my total number of major standards sits at 9, which will translate into 9 columns in the gradebook.

This 9 standard system, assuming it doesn’t morph much more, will probably become the foundation for all of my classes, regardless of content. Only the first standard is content-specific and will vary between courses, but the other standards represent outcomes that should be achieved in any upper-level science class. I’ll keep a midterm and final in each course per semester, as well, to keep kids on their toes as far as standardized testing goes.

Although its a work in progress, if you see any glaring problems this system creates down the road, feel free to share a comment. Lots of folks are interested in SBG/sbar right now and as a collective unit we’ll come up with better plans than we can alone.

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  1. Ellena Bethea’s avatar

    Are the 9 standards going to be weighted equally? If not, where will the emphasis lie?

    I’m still struggling with the mechanics of squeezing all of the content into one standard. I assume somewhere, there will be unit-by-unit scores that are combined to make up that score, but what will it look like in practice?

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  2. Chris Ludwig’s avatar

    Ellena,

    I think it is not so much that the content is squeezed into one standard, but that trivial knowledge of content is squeezed into one standard. The sorts of assessment that I used to do, multiple choice quizzes, vocabulary exercises, and other stuff lower down on Bloom’s Taxonomy might fall under that standard. The other standards can address content as well, just in a more integrated manner. The vocabulary and basic concepts are necessary, but I’d like to see students move past that level of understanding, hence the other standards.

    In practice, I see each major topic we discuss hitting each of the 9 standards as students learn the concepts, study their impact on society, learn appropriate laboratory techniques, carry out and analyze their own experiments, and share their results online. So yes, I plan to weight the 9 standards equally because together they represent the totality of what I want students to be able to do.

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