Standards Based Grading
A Standards-Based grade reporting system is designed to inform parents about their child’s progress towards achieving specific learning standards. The New Jersey Student Learning Standards establish high and challenging performance expectations for all students. They describe what students should know and be able to do, and serve as the basis for the Stanhope School District’s curriculum, instruction and assessment model. The Standards-Based Report Card highlights most important student skills in each subject area and grade level, assesses “how well a child mastered each skill” within a subject area and identiﬁes areas of student strength and weakness to better inform instruction.
Frequently Asked Questions
A Standards-Based grade reporting system is designed to inform parents about their child’s progress towards achieving specific learning standards. The New Jersey Student Learning Standards establish high and challenging performance expectations for all students. They describe what students should know and be able to do, and serve as the basis for the Stanhope School District’s curriculum, instruction and assessment model.
The Standards-Based Report Card:
- Highlights most important student skills in each subject area and grade level
- Assesses “how well a child mastered each skill” within a subject area
- Identiﬁes areas of student strength and weakness to better inform instruction
This report card allows parents and students to understand more clearly what is expected at each grade level. With this understanding, parents will be better able to guide and support their child helping him/her to be successful in a rigorous academic program.
- Letter grades do not tell parents which skills their children have mastered or whether they are working at grade level.
- A Standards-Based Report Card gives parents a better understanding of their child’s strengths and weaknesses and encourages all students to do their best.
- Developing Standards Based Report Cards, Guskey, 2006
- Classroom Assessment and Grading that Work, Marzano, 2006
- Assessment and Student Success in a Diﬀerentiated Classroom, Tomlinson and Moon, 2013
- Habits of Mind, Costa and Kallick, 2009
- Review of dozens of sample Standards-Based Report Cards
- Ongoing consultation with our Professional Staﬀ, administration, regional colleagues, Literacy and Math Specialists, and an external consultant
- A benchmark is an explicit set of criteria used for assessing student performance of a speciﬁc skill.
- The benchmarks in each subject area will change in each grade level across marking periods
Our Standards-Based benchmarks are designed on a scale of 1-4.
4: The Student independently and consistently exceeds marking period benchmark standards and shows evidence of higher-level thinking. Earning a “4” means the student has advanced understanding and exceeds grade-level expectations. A student receiving a “4” demonstrates academically superior skills in that specific area. This student shows initiative, challenges himself or herself, and demonstrates this advanced knowledge at school. A “4” indicates unusually high achievement.
3: GRADE LEVEL EXPECTATION – The student consistently meets marking period benchmark standards. Earning a “3” means the student has proficient understanding and meets grade-level expectations. We want all of our students to reach a level “3.” A student receiving a “3” is right on track with our high academic expectations. A “3” is something to be celebrated.!
2: The student demonstrates progress toward meeting marking period benchmark standards. Earning a “2” means the student has basic understanding and partially meets grade-level expectations. A student receiving a “2” understands the basic concepts or skill, but has not yet reached the proficient level. A “2” should indicate to parents that their child may need some extra help or extra time to practice/understand that concept or skill.
1: The student demonstrates limited progress toward meeting marking period benchmark standards. A student receiving a “1” has academic delays according to our district standards, and interventions may be needed to learn and stay on track with district expectations.
It is important that parents and teachers have honest conversations with students. Some concepts and skills are more difficult to grasp than others, but given time and motivation, students can continually challenge themselves. Attitudes are contagious and it is important that adults involved convey to the child that learning is a process that needs to be respected. A score of 2 while learning a new skill or concept is appropriate. A score of 3 demonstrating mastery is to be celebrated. A score of 4 indicates a strength being recognized that is above and beyond the grade level expectations.
Teachers use a variety of methods and tools to assess students' proficiency levels based on the standards for that grade level. They look at evidence of student proficiency by analyzing work samples and reviewing student performance on activities, projects and assessments such as quizzes and tests, as well as collecting classroom participation and anecdotal notes. This collected evidence of a student's learning is compared to what a student is expected to know or do according to the district grade level standards.
Modifications and accommodations in your child’s IEP are written to support his or her progress on grade level standards. Your child's progress will be assessed and reported using grade level standards, with the appropriate accommodations or modifications as outlined in the IEP. We strive through our district teaching and assessments to help all students master grade level curriculum standards. Different students make progress at different rates, so standards may be met in varying lengths of time, with varying levels of teacher support. Students with IEPs will also receive progress reports from the Child Study Team as they have in the past.
Not all standards are taught during every trimester. Standards that have not yet been taught are indicated with an “X” on the report card and are “greyed out” on the accompanying benchmark document.