Wednesday, December 8, 2010

SBG - Standards Based Grading with Skill Mastery

Going along with Think Thank Thunk, the following ideas are needed before one can effectively implement Standard Based Grading in their class. My analogue solution using a mastery wall as the framework or starting point for the disucssuion follows the below ideas and goes a little further. Consider the following if you are interested in making a mastery wall for yourself. 

  1. Grades should reflect learning and nothing else. (i.e.: not behavior, nor organization . . .)
  2. Later assessments should outweigh earlier assessments to indicate growth.
  3. Practice should be safe, ungraded, experimental, and feedback heavy. (i.e. Homework is not graded)
  4. “Skills” and low-level concepts should be emphasized within the context of richer issues.

Skill Mastery Wall - SBG - Standards Based Grading - Student Feedback

How to Assign Mastery on You New Mastery Wall

Now that you have your categories, units and assessments ready to go for your Mastery Wall, you must figure out what the benchmark is for mastery.  You, the classroom teacher, will be the one who ultimately makes the decision, but considerations would certainly need to be made to align these with your school, district or state standards. Likely, this has already been done for you with some sort of curriculum map or guide that can show you what students should be able to do.

Aside from alignment, there are a few guidelines to consider when determining mastery:

·      Commonly used on major, norm-referenced tests is 80% for mastery. Those tests are designed much differently, and should not be considered your benchmark for the tests you create.

·      It’s important to determine the questions on your test that best represent your vision of mastery.

·      The questions that best represent mastery should rarely be missed for a student to receive that mastery.

·      If your mastery is not a test, but rather a product such as a research essay in English class or a lab report, a bare minimum needs to be clearly determined and communicated to students along with exemplar pieces and clear rubrics that indicate mastery.

·      As much as possible the process should be objective.

·      Set the bar high and offer repeated attempts to make that benchmark.

·      Make sure you are teaching to the level of mastery.

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