On Tuesday, the spring semester will begin and most of my students will be new to me and I new to them since classes get all scrambled between semesters. While everyone on my team structures their class according to our shared Standards-Based Grading (SBG) philosophy, I decided it would be important to share why I use SBG in my classes. I came up with five points:
I want you to focus on learning.
Points and grades often get in the way of this.
I want you to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills.
This requires you to take risks, make mistakes, and try again. You should be rewarded for this and not penalized.
I want to know what you understand. I want you to know what you understand.
This requires frequent, useful feedback. 8/10 is not useful feedback.
I want you to be responsible for your own learning.
This requires you to have the information, tools, and freedom to do so.
I want your final grade to reflect your understanding of the standards for this course.
This requires grades to be associated with standards and you to have multiple opportunities to demonstrate your understanding.
What is important are these goals, not SBG. I have embraced a SBG philosophy only because it helps me and you achieve the above goals.