K-8 Standards-Based Grading and Reporting
The purpose of standards-based grading is to more accurately and consistently communicate student progress toward district identified learning standards, as well as classroom effort, and community skills.
Middle School Standards-Based Grading Scale
Consistently meets most requirements for exceptional work related to course standards and demonstrates a deep level of knowledge and skill for this point in the school year.
Consistently meets most requirements for proficient work related to course standards and demonstrates grade level knowledge and skills for this point in the school year.
Consistently meets some requirements for proficient work related to course standards and demonstrates some grade level knowledge and skills for this point in school year.
Consistently meets few requirements for proficient work related to course standards and demonstrates little grade level knowledge and skill for this point in the school year.
Insufficient evidence has been gathered to indicate an accurate grade due to absences and/or non-completion of assessments.
Elementary Standards-Based Grading Scale
Consistently meets requirements for exceptional work and demonstrates a deep level of knowledge and skill for this point in the year.
Consistently meets requirements for proficient work demonstrates grade level knowledge and skills for this point in the year.
Meets some requirements for proficient work and demonstrates some grade level knowledge and skills for this point in the year.
Well Below Standard
Meets few requirements for proficient work and demonstrates little grade level knowledge and skill for this point in the year.
Renton School District’s Principles of Grading…A Filter for Our Work
Renton elementary and middle schools use six common grading principles and district-defined grading criteria to reduce the subjectivity of individual teacher grades. Standards-based grading tends to be less subjective than the traditional A-F grading system where the components of academic achievement are less well defined. In Renton K-8 schools, teachers do not grade in isolation; instead, they collaborate with their PLC members to create scoring rubrics that provide specific criteria and communicate student progress in a way that is more detailed and less subjective than the traditional point-based system of an A-F grading system.
Standards-Based Grading Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the advantages of Standards-Based Grading?
- What are the main differences from traditional grading?
- How will this prepare my student for high school and the high school grading system?
- Why aren’t formative assessments or homework assignments part of a student’s grade, why should students take them seriously?
- What does my child need to do to achieve a 4?
- If my child does everything that is asked of her/him, why doesn’t she/he get a 4 (or 3)?
- What are the differences between a score of “1”, “IE”, and “NA”?
What are the advantages of Standards-Based Grading?
- Allows students, teachers, and parents/guardians to gauge each student’s progress per standard
- Represents more accurate representation of student’s knowledge and skills at each quarter/trimester
- Provides multiple chances for students to show what they know
- Doesn’t penalize students for mistakes made during the learning process
- Increase consistency in grading policies and criteria across teachers and schools
What are the main differences from traditional grading?
- Standards-based grading focuses on a student’s progress toward meeting grade level standards rather than a simple accumulation of points.
- It uses a number scale (4, 3, 2, 1, IE) rather than a letter scale (A, B, C, D, F).
- To earn the highest mark of a “4”, students must demonstrate exceptional understanding of the standard, not just general understanding of the standard, requiring students to show they can think more deeply and tackle more complex problems on their assignments.
- It is less subject to being influenced by non-academic behaviors, such as tardiness or not speaking up in class.
- Grades are determined by each student’s ability to meet standard; not on how he or she compares to other students in the class. All students are expected to meet or exceed standard. Course grades are not based “on a curve”; all of the students that meet high standards can receive high grades.
How will this prepare my student for high school and the high school grading system?
Students who experience standards-based grading in K-8 are prepared for high school, even if their high school teachers continue to use a more traditional system, because they are aware of the content knowledge and skills they have achieved, and because they are pushed to become more independent learners who take more responsibility for their learning.
Why aren’t formative assessments or homework assignments part of a student’s grade, why should students take them seriously?
- Formative assessments and homework allow students to try out what they are learning without having to worry about how it affects their final grade.
- Teachers create formative assignments to gain insight into levels of student learning and to check for gaps in students’ understanding.
- Homework is used for practice, to prepare students for upcoming learning, and to reinforce and extend learning, but never to learn material for the first time.
- When students don’t complete homework, it becomes evident in their Effort scores, formative assessment feedback, and benchmark assessment scores.
- When these warning signs arise, students can then (with the help of their teachers and parents/guardians) set goals and develop plans to better support their own learning.
- Under standards-based grading, students are not relieved of the responsibility to participate in ALL aspects of their classes. Frequent independent practice of what is taught in class aids long-term learning.
What does my child need to do to achieve a 4?
- It is important to understand that a 4 in standards-based grading is not the same as earning an “A” in the traditional system.
- Renton School District defines a 4 as “Consistently meeting most requirements for exceptional work related to course standards and demonstrating a deep level of knowledge and skill for this point in the school year.” This means that students need to do more than simply have a basic understanding of the course. To earn a “4” students need to demonstrate they have a greater understanding by elaborating on their answers, solving more challenging problems, or showing connections between varying concepts that they have made on their own.
- Some students may find this aspect of standards-based grading more challenging since “going above and beyond the minimum standard” may take extra effort and persistence.
If my child does everything that is asked of her/him, why doesn’t she/he get a 4 (or 3)?
- In a Standards-Based Grading system a student’s grade depends on showing mastery of the standards. Completing the assigned work is important to a student’s learning but assignments will be graded based on what a student is able to show what they know.
- Grades determined in our standards based grading system more accurately show what students know and can do.
- If a student completes all assigned work, but is unable to demonstrate mastery of the content knowledge, the student will not receive a 4 or 3.
What are the differences between a score of “1”, “IE”, and “NA”?
- If a student earns a 1, it means that he/she completed and submitted the assessment or assignment; however, their work shows a lack of understanding and little grade-level knowledge. It is important that the student reviews this standard and works with the teacher to identify his/her next steps and receive further instruction to prepare for the next assessment or a retake opportunity.
- An “IE” is given when there is not enough evidence for a teacher to assess a student’s understanding or progress towards standards. Typically, this means that a student did not turn in or complete an assessment or assignment. If a student earns an IE, they need to speak to their teacher immediately to determine if they can still turn in or redo the assessment in question; or complete an alternate assessment to make-up the grade.
- The “NA” code is used by a teacher when a standard is not assessed that quarter. Because this is a teacher-decision based on unit pacing, there is no action that needs to be taken on the part of the student. With multiple standards throughout the year, not all are assessed each quarter.