There are so many blogs I read about Standards-Based Grading. I jumped in with both feet last year and loved the way it changed my classroom. I’m at the middle school level and am doing a hybrid between standards-based grading and traditional grading due to site and district concerns with me moving to 100% assessment in my 7th-grade math classroom. We’re at 75%/25%, and that’s ok. We’re figuring out how to make it work. Here’s where I struggle though. Pretty much everything I’ve read about SBG encourages replacing scores. Students should not be penalized because they take longer to master a topic. I get that, and I agree. A student who scores a 2/4 on a topic at the quiz halfway through the unit but scores a 4/4 on the test at the end of the chapter is rewarded with the 4/4 because s/he proved proficiency, but what do you do when a student does worse on a later assessment? When following the cardinal SBG rule of only letting students re-test after doing some form of intervention and tutoring, this is rarely the case. But what about the objective that is tested on a quiz and then a subsequent test? Students don’t always do better. You could make the argument that the student didn’t really master the topic on the quiz because the skill was not committed to long-term memory. This past year we did nothing when they did worse. I struggle with that a little bit. What do others do?
My problem with constantly replacing is that ultimately that means the midterm or final, if they are comprehensive, are actually the entire grade. Students will figure out that it doesn’t really matter what they get on every assessment if the midterm/final trumps all. Granted the other assessments guide students and teachers on what students understand and don’t, but I’m uncomfortable with this at the middle school level.