Standards Based Grading

What is standards ­based grading_(SBG)? SBG measures your student’s mastery of the essential learning standards identified by MPMS and MPHS staff over the past two years. Staff at MPMS have then taken these essential learning standards and broken them down into student friendly learning targets that are posted in the classrooms at the beginning of each unit and throughout each unit. During the unit, students are assessed to see what information they are proficient on and what they need continued instruction. At the end of each unit, students and their families will be able to see exactly what standards and learning targets students have mastered as well as those they need additional instruction. Because we understand learning takes place over time and that all students learn at a different pace, students are able to earn reassessment opportunities on non­-mastered standards and learning targets.

The goal of SBG is to provide the teacher, student, parent, and MPHS staff as accurate a picture as possible of the student’s learning at MPMS. Further we want students to learn the importance of responsibility to complete the extra work necessary to earn reassessment opportunities.

Why is MPMS changing to a building­ wide SBG approach? The goal of MPMS staff is to report grades that are accurate, consistent, meaningful, and personalized by student­ standard. This philosophy eliminates “point chasing” as it requires students to demonstrate their knowledge and mastery of standards developed by MPCSD staff. As our students prepare for high school, we want all parties to know what students know and what they are not proficient on so we can personalize instruction accordingly.

If my MPMS student will no longer get A, B, C, D, or F, what will they get? In PowerSchool, each student will earn the following on each specific essential standard or learning target:

4 ­ Exceeding

3 ­ Proficient

2 ­ Approaching

1 ­ Beginning

0 ­ Student didn’t attempt I ­ Incomplete

Staff will also have the option to use the .5 scale to communicate if students are nearing the next level of achievement. For example, a student that is proficient on a standard, but hasn’t quite demonstrated exceeding could earn a 3.5.


How will MPMS staff determine what level of mastery a student is at? MPMS staff has been working very diligently to create proficiency scales to evaluate student mastery on each standard or learning target. MPMS staff have collaborated to determine what students need to do to demonstrate different levels of mastery. These expectations will be communicated to students early and often so there are no surprises with what students are expected to do. Staff will continue to tweak these proficiency scales throughout the 2016­-17 school year.

What about homework (practice)? MPMS students will still be assigned practice and they will be expected to complete this as assigned. While staff will analyze practice, it will not be part of a student’s grade. To earn reassessment opportunities, students could be required to complete the practice that has been assigned. Failure to complete practice on time will be reflected in PRIDE grades.

How does reassessment work? Recognizing students learn at different pacing and similar to what most staff have been doing this year, MPMS students will have the opportunity to earn reassessment opportunities. For example, if a student gets a 1 or a 2 on an essential learning standard on an assessment, they will be given opportunities during WIN and class to get some reteaching, complete some practice, etc so they can reassess. If students do not take responsibility to participate in the extra learning opportunities, they will not be guaranteed reassessment opportunities. If students take an assessment with numerous standards/learning targets being evaluated, they will only have to reassess on those that they scored below proficient.

Will MPMS students still have a GPA? In preparation for our transition to SBG, we have communicated with other middle schools on the journey as well as experts in the SBG field regarding GPA. In trying to determine whether or not we would continue to use GPA, we asked ourselves one question, what does GPA mean in a middle school? At our final staff meeting of the 15-­16 school year, our staff reached consensus that we would not be utilizing a GPA moving forward. We feel the benefits of reporting out by standard far outweighs an arbitrary number that isn’t used for anything at the middle school level. **The only exception to this is 8th grade HS Spanish. Due to this grade going on the HS transcript, a GPA will be calculated for this course only.**


What will MPMS report cards look like? At the end of April, MPMS staff submitted their essential learning standards/learning targets they are going to be using for the 2016­-17 school year. As students are assessed, the standards will be appear on their report card. Because some scores can change due to reassessment, once standards and learning targets are on the report card, they will remain for the rest of the year. For this reason, student report cards will grow each quarter. For year one, we will be using the SBG report card created by GWAEA and PowerSchool. While we want to accurately communicate grades, we aren’t sure how ‘long’ the report cards will be. This is something we will continue to monitor and tweak accordingly.


How will student achievement be recognized? This is a conversation that is still being had among our staff and will continue into next Fall. We will continue to recognize students for perfect attendance and PRIDE grade achievement each quarter. We are still discussing numerous options for academic achievement. We are also exploring a way to recognize student improvement/growth on standards and learning targets from quarter to quarter.

Remind me, what does the PRIDE grade measure? The goal of the PRIDE grade is to separate student behavior from their academic grade:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Respect self and others
  • Invest in their work
  • Dare to take a risk
  • Everyone is included

Students consistently failing to complete their practice (homework) will be marked down in their PRIDE grade, but it will not impact their grade on the specific standard or learning target.

MPMS students will not get academic points for things such as participation, turning in permission slips, etc…. These type of expectations will be reflected in their PRIDE grade.

Is MPHS also moving towards SBG? There are some staff at MPHS that are implementing pieces of SBG such as reassessment, but there are no concrete plans to move forward whole building at this time. Making a transition like this at the high school level has many different challenges we do not face at the middle school level and there are specific requirements set down by post­secondary institutions that must be considered.