elementary students with backpacks

Standards-Based Grading PreK-4

What is Standards-Based Grading and Reporting?

Standards-based grading (SBG) focuses on evaluating students' mastery of specific learning standards or objectives rather than just their overall performance in a subject. In traditional grading systems, students are often assigned a single letter grade (e.g., A, B, C) based on their overall average in a course, which may not accurately reflect their understanding of individual concepts or skills.

In contrast, standards-based grading breaks down the curriculum into clear and specific learning objectives or standards. Teachers assess students' performance on each of these standards separately, providing targeted feedback and grading based on how well students have demonstrated their understanding or proficiency in each area. 

Why Standards-Based Grading?

Clear Learning Objectives: Standards-based grading highlights the specific skills and knowledge that students are expected to acquire, making the learning goals transparent and focused.

Accurate Assessment: Students are evaluated based on their mastery of each standard, providing a more accurate picture of their strengths and areas needing improvement.

Targeted Feedback: Students receive detailed feedback on their performance for each standard, enabling them to understand precisely where they need to improve.

Individualized Learning: Teachers and students can identify specific areas where more instruction or practice is needed, promoting a more personalized learning experience.

Growth Mindset: Standards-based grading encourages a growth mindset, as students see their progress and development over time in each skill or standard.

Improved Communication: Families, teachers, and students can have more meaningful discussions about progress and areas for improvement, as the focus is on specific standards.

How is Standards-Based Grading implemented?

To be accurate and fair in reporting both student progress and achievement, teachers use a proficiency scale to report individual progress with the standards in all core subject areas. Four levels of progress are noted using a numeric marking system (numbers 1-4). It is important to note a mark of “3” is the expected goal for students, which indicates that the student is meeting the requirements of the academic standards for his/her grade level.

All teachers across the district have the same expectations and common understandings about learning targets at each grade level and are able to evaluate students utilizing rubrics with the same standard criteria.A rubric is a document that articulates the expectations for an assignment or standard by listing the criteria,or what counts, and describing levels of quality. EPS teachers use rubrics to clarify the standards for a quality performance, to ensure consistency across the district, and to guide ongoing feedback about progress toward those standards.

Traditional Grading

Standards-Based Grading

- Overall grade is based on an average of different items (behavior, effort, attitude).

- Measure only achievement, behaviors are reported separately.

- A single grade is given per content.

- Subject areas are subdivided into a list of concepts/skills that students need to master. 

-Evaluate students utilizing rubrics with the same standard criteria.

- Assessments are based on teacher-defined criteria.

- Assessments are based on specific state standards.

- Scores are based on averaging assessments and/or assignments.

- Students are able to show growth with their score reflecting where they are on a continuum of mastery toward meeting end-of-year goals.

standards based grading graphic