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Standards-based Grading

Release Date: 

March 9, 2022

Has your district adopted standards-based grading? If so, please let us know. You could be featured in future state-wide SBE outreach! Standards-based grading is used in mastery-based education. See the table below from the Aurora Institute.

Traditional Grading System Standards-Based Grading System
1. Based on assessment methods (quizzes, tests, homework, projects, etc.). One grade/entry is given per assessment. 1. Based on learning goals and performance standards. One grade/entry is given per learning goal.
2. Assessments are based on a percentage system. Criteria for success may be unclear. 2. Standards are criterion or proficiency-based. Criteria and targets are made available to students ahead of time.
3. Use an uncertain mix of assessment, achievement, effort, and behavior to determine the final grade. May use late penalties and extra credit. 3. Measures achievement only OR separates achievement from effort/behavior. No penalties or extra credit given.
4. Everything goes in the grade book – regardless of purpose. 4. Selected assessments (tests, quizzes, projects, etc.) are used for grading purposes.
5. Include every score, regardless of when it was collected. Assessments record the average – not the best – work. 5. Emphasize the most recent evidence of learning when grading.

If your school has adopted standards-based grading and you’re interested in building on that effort, consider joining the Friends of the Mastery-based Learning (MBL) Collaborative. The MBL Collaborative (MBLC) is a new grant project supported by the State Board of Education. The MBLC provides schools with professional learning and a community to help them transition to MBL and transform education into a more relevant and equitable learning experience for each student.

While the grant opportunity has closed for this year, schools interested in MBL can sign up to join the Friends of the MBLC interest group.

Contact: Alissa Muller, Director of the Mastery-based Learning Collaborative

Media Contact: 

Stephanie Davidsmeyer
Communications Manager