Standards-Based Grading

Frequently Asked Questions​

FAQ: Standards-Based Grading Basics

What is standards-based grading?

Standards-based grading is method of grading that reports a student’s level of mastery on specific standards and learning targets, not the manner in which the student was assessed.  That is to say, a student’s grade is reported based on mastery of skills and knowledge, not on what category they demonstrated that knowledge - such as on a homework assignment or a test. 

 

Why is North Muskegon switching to a standards-based grading model?

Standards-based grading provides more specific, actionable information about a student’s progress towards mastering essential learning standards.  This information allows us to better meet each student’s academic and behavioral needs so that we can more effectively help them to learn and grow.

 

When is the standards-based grading being implemented?

  • For the elementary school, it already is fully implemented.
  • For the middle school, standards-based grading has already begun being phased in and will continue to do so until the fall of 2018, at which point all classes will report using only standards-based grades.
  • For the high school, standards-based grading is also already being phased in.  However, it will not be fully implemented in all classes until the fall of 2019, at which all grades in all classes will be standards-based.

FAQ: Standards-Based Grading and Elementary Students

How does this affect my elementary student?

Elementary students will be affected in ways that are not always obvious to parents and guardians as much of the work is done “under the hood”.  Still, the impact on your student’s learning will be significant and it will be positive as standards-based grading helps teachers focus in on what is most important for students to learn and more accurately apply research-based strategies to address each student’s specific learning needs.

 

FAQ: Standards-Based Grading and Middle School Students

How does this affect my middle school student?  

Middle school report cards will look quite different from traditional middle school report cards once standards-based grading is fully implemented.  In fact, they will look quite a lot like elementary report cards, with no overall grade for a subject area but rather a grade 1-4 for each standard.  This will serve to both provide you with more precise information about your student’s progress and help their teachers to know what areas they need extra help and what areas they need enrichment.

Will students be able to do a retake of a test or other end-of-unit/summative assessments?

Yes, all middle and high school students are offered a retake or redo for at least five school days after the original assessment was due.  However, a student must first earn the right to retake or redo this assessment by completing some form of qualifier to demonstrate that they have reflected and attempted to improve their knowledge and skills.  The option to retake does not apply to final exams.

 

Does standards-based grading mean practice assignments and homework don’t affect middle school grades?

This question is the toughest to answer.  For the years of transition, there is no one answer.  Teachers are piloting different methods: some teachers are going to stop having practice assignments (or “homework”) directly impact the final grade while others are going to assess students using a standard that reflects how well a student shows their ability to do practice assignments and turn them in on time.  This way, if a student has mastered a target about linear functions and demonstrates this on a test but doesn’t turn in any practice assignments it will not reflect in linear functions grade but it will in both the “academic practices” standard and in their final grade.


Helping our students learn highly effective academic habits is incredibly important to the NMPS staff! As we formulate our final plan for how practice assignments influence grades once standards-based grading is fully implemented is still being decided we are constantly taking the teaching of academic habits in mind.

FAQ: Standards-Based Grading and High School Students

How does this affect my high school student?

High school report cards will still use A-F and will still provide an overall grade which will be used to calculate GPA as it always has.  Additionally, there will be a sub-grades provided for the different standards in each class.  This will provide you and your student’s teachers with more clear, specific information about your student’s areas of strength and weakness so that we can better meet their needs.  
 

How will this affect how colleges view my high school student?

Not at all.  An overall A-F grade will still be given for each course and will calculate into a student’s overall GPA as it always has.  Transcripts provided to colleges and universities will still show grades as they have using traditional grading.
 

Will students be able to do a retake of a test or other end-of-unit/summative assessments?

Yes, all middle and high school students are offered a retake or redo for at least five school days after the original assessment was due.  However, a student must first earn the right to retake or redo this assessment by completing some form of qualifier to demonstrate that they have reflected and attempted to improve their knowledge and skills.  The option to retake does not apply to final exams.

 

Does standards-based grading mean practice assignments and homework don’t affect high school grades?

This question is the toughest to answer.  For the years of transition, there is no one answer.  Teachers are piloting different methods: some teachers are going to stop having practice assignments (or “homework”) directly impact the final grade while others are going to assess students using a standard that reflects how well a student shows their ability to do practice assignments and turn them in on time.  This way, if a student has mastered a target about linear functions and demonstrates this on a test but doesn’t turn in any practice assignments it will not reflect in linear functions grade but it will in both the “academic practices” standard and in their final grade.


Helping our students learn highly effective academic habits is incredibly important to the NMPS staff! As we formulate our final plan for how practice assignments influence grades once standards-based grading is fully implemented is still being decided we are constantly taking the teaching of academic habits in mind.

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