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Understanding Standards-Based Grading Systems and How It Improves the Quality of Education

Standards-based grading is a new trend in the innovation of education that focuses on learning and helps to increase achievement. In traditional educational systems, teachers focus majorly on teaching and consequently an attempt to deliver knowledge to students in the best way possible as instructions that will help students acquire important life skills. The progress of each student in every of the components of the “learning targets” is recorded throughout the semester or term from which the teachers can give the appropriate feedback. Students were previously created according to the percentage of the work that they had successfully completed as a result of the tutor’s instruction. A was a high completion rate for student when they will have completed 90 to 100% of the work, B was for the completion of 80 to 89%, C was for the completion of 70 to 79%, D was for the completion of 60 to 69% while F was the completion of 0 to 59% of the work. Standards-based grading on the other hand is based on any demonstration of mastery of a subject. The grading system is advantageous as it gives average and low performing students a chance to be high achievers by the instructor adopting the teaching style to better suit them. This enables the students to continue working and learning until they are able to achieve the target and is therefore viewed as a ladder where students climb up, one rung at the time, and eventually reached the top. Teachers filling the gap by giving regular feedback, reteaching the misunderstood subject and offering additional opportunities for students to perform better in the grading ladder. The process requires patience and practice and it is constantly repeated until the student reaches their target.

Traditional grading systems simply give cause such as 9/10 or 85% for a certain completion of work which is not as effective as teachers giving feedback on the tests performed and the skills used. Standards-based grading systems motivates the students as they feel that they have certain strengths even though they didn’t perform really well and are enabled by the instructor to see what they can improve their weaknesses. “Learning targets” in standards-based grading written in student-friendly language so as they can understand the cause of the instructions well. They can further identify the areas of improvement and self-direct activities.

Standard-based grading systems neutralize this problem as the teachers will know which students are in level 1, 2 or 3 and enables the instructor to offer a level appropriate work to improve the students. Students are therefore less frustrated by poorly fitting instructions and the school gets to be a more positive experience when the material is relevant and interesting.

Working for mastery is an intrinsic motivator to students and this transforms some of the students’ attitudes. This is an emotionally safe environment where students are encouraged to stretch themselves, make mistakes and learn as opposed to the traditional methods that create a test-taking fear and calls anxiety that interferes with learning because students are afraid of making mistakes.

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