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Practical Solutions for Serious Problems in Standards-Based Grading

Practical Solutions for Serious Problems in Standards-Based Grading

August 2008 | 136 pages | Corwin

"The book combines research, critical issues, and creative solutions in a concise and easy-to-read manner. While there is little doubt that educators today face a myriad of critical issues, this book allows educators to believe that they can be agents of change for students and for the profession."
—Sammie Novack, Vice Principal
Curran Middle School Bakersfield, CA

Implement standards-based grading practices that accurately and equitably report student achievement!

Standards-based education poses a variety of challenges for grading and reporting practices, especially for ensuring that the grades assigned to students are honest, meaningful, and fair. Many traditional methods, such as limiting the number of high grades or defining "C" as "average," no longer work in a standards-based environment. This edited volume examines critical issues in standards-based grading and provides specific suggestions for improving grading policies and practices at the school and classroom levels.

With contributions from prominent educators and researchers, this groundbreaking volume:

  • Describes traditional school practices that inhibit the implementation of standards-based grading
  • Addresses how teachers can assign fair and accurate grades to English language learners and students with special needs
  • Examines legal issues that influence grading and reporting policies
  • Discusses why report card grades and large-scale assessment scores may vary
  • Fosters consistency in grading across states and districts
  • Offers effective strategies for communicating with parents

This solution-oriented book offers teachers, principals, and administrators practical strategies for implementing grading policies that benefit all students.

Thomas R. Guskey
1. Introduction
The Difficulty of Change

Background and Format

Content Summary

Our Hope


Thomas R. Guskey
2. Grading Policies That Work Against Standards...and How to Fix Them
Policy #1: Grading "On the Curve"

Policy #2: Selecting the Class Valedictorian

Policy #3: Using Grades as a Form of Punishment

Policy #4: Using Zeros in Grading

Policy #5: Hodgepodge Grading



Lee Ann Jung
3. The Challenges of Grading and Reporting in Special Education: An Inclusive Grading Model
Why Does Special Education Grading Matter?

Grading Adaptations

Implications of Standards-Based Grading

Inclusive Grading Model

Step 1: Determine If Accomodations or Modifications Are Needed

Step 2: Establish Standards for Modified Areas

Step 3: Determine the Need for Additional Goals

Step 4: Apply Equivalent Grading Practices to Appropriate Standards

Step 5: Communicate the Meaning of the Grades



Shannon O. Sampson
4. Assigning Fair, Accurate, and Meaningful Grades to Students Who Are English Language Learners
Challenges of Grading Students Who Are English Language Learners

Special Considerations



Current Research and Knowledge Base

Recommendations for Effective Communication

Implications for Educational Policy and Practice

Steps Toward Better Practice




Jake McElligott, Susan Brookhart
5. Legal Issues of Grading in the Era of High-Stakes Accountability
Current Research and Knowledge Base

What Is a Grade and Who Assigns It?

Students and Legal Issues in Grading

Due Process and Equal Protection

Grade Reductions


Teachers and Legal Issues in Grading

First Amendment


Implications for Policy and Practice


Grade Penalties

Appeals Policies and Due Process

Educator Responsibilities

Recommendations for Improvement



Megan Welsh, Jerry D'Agostino
6. Fostering Consistency Between Standards-Based Grades and Large-Scale Assessment Results
Description of the Problem

Overview of Standards-Based Grading in the District

Understanding Teachers' Assessment Styles

Assessing Most Standards

Grading on Achievement, Not Effort

Creating or Borrowing Assessments to Supplement Text-Provided Tests

Tracking Performance Skill-by-Skill

Focusing on Attainment of Standards Instead of the District Text

Grading With End-of-Unit Assessments

Other Grading Strategies

Focus on Overall Achievement

Frequency of Assessment for Grading Purposes

Multiple Assessment Approaches

Clear Grading Methods


Changes in Report Card Format

Organizing for Standards-Based Grading

Lack of Alignment Between District-Adopted Texts and State Standards

Skepticism From Parents and Teachers


Approaches to Organizing Grade Books

Using Diagnostic, Formative, and Summative Assessments

Separating Content Area Grades From Effort

Selecting a Method for Computing Grades

Differentiate Teaching to the Standards From Teaching to the Assessment


James H. McMillan
7. Synthesis of Issues and Implications
Current Grading Practices

Key Role of Teacher Judgment

The Fundamental Purpose of Standards-Based Grading

Validity of Standards-Based Grading

Fairness in Standards-Based Grading

Standards-Based Grading and Student Motivation

Student Standards-Based Self-Grading

Standards-Based Grading and Feedback

Where Do We Go From Here?



"A very well-written, well-researched work with excellent documentation. It is obvious the contributors are experts and have the ability to communicate their expertise well."

Randy Cook, Chemistry and Physics Teacher
Tri County High School, Morley, MI

"The book combines research, critical issues, and creative solutions in a concise and easy-to-read manner. While there is little doubt that educators today face a myriad of critical issues, this book allows educators to believe that they can be agents of change for students and for the profession."

Sammie Novack, Vice Principal
Curran Middle School, Bakersfield, CA

"Anyone with authority and influence over student grading policies should read this book. Educators have to be courageous and confront the inherent problems of traditional grading practices that are not working and that are harmful to students. Doing so requires a proactive approach to problem solving, which this book exemplifies."

Paul Young, Science Department Coordinator
Penn Manor High School, Millersville, PA

Didn't meet the needs of our current students.

Mrs Sue James
Swansea School of Education, Swansea Metropolitan University
February 14, 2014

Good book and used as a reference at this time

Mr Jim Bagniewski
School Of Education, Viterbo University
January 4, 2010

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: Introduction

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