STANDARDS BASED GRADING PROJECT

This project was started after a group of LS parents approached the PSO with concerns about a new initiative they heard was being considered by the school – standards based grading.

Background

In Spring 2017 a group of LS parents brought their concerns to the PSO that the school was considering implementing a “standards based grading” initiative at the school.

The main issues identified were:

  • What was standards based grading – parents were worried this meant removing grades for MS & HS students.
  • Would their children be penalized if they moved schools or applied to university with a report card that used “standards based grading”.
  • If the school did go ahead with this change what was the timetable.

Response

The PSO Executive Board immediately sat down with the school administration to find out more about this change and encourage more communication with parents.  The following points were noted:

  • The administration educated the PSO Executive Board about what standards based grading means.  In a nutshell it means  that grades should reflect student achievement of intended learning standards and grading systems should support and motivate student effort and learning.
  • The administration indicated that they were taking advice from a leading expert in standards based grading and that he would be at the school in May 2017 and in addition to providing professional development training to teachers and staff, parents would also be invited to a session.
  • The administration indicated that they would be slowly phasing this into the school and not making an abrupt change.  The plan was that standards based grading would be phased into visual arts and physical education grading in MS in the 2017/18 school year.  Starting in August 2018 the MS would adopt standards based grading.
  • The administration assured the PSO Executive Board that many schools worldwide, including many international schools use standards based grading.  ACS currently receives applications from many families whose school’s use this system and they do not have any problems assessing children.  ACS has also spoken with schools that use standards based grading for students applying to university and again the feeling was that universities are also adept at interpreting grades from many different grading systems and that this was no different.

Conclusion

The PSO was satisfied with the information provided and felt the school answered the questions and concerns raised.

In May 2017 the school hosted Tom Schimmer, an assessment expert, for a parent information session which was well attended.  The school expects Tom to be back in Janauary 2018 for further training of teachers and staff and hopefully another information session for parents if needed.

Please also see the school’s webpages on standards based grading. http://acssbg.weebly.com/ There is a particularly good video that explains the concept.