Student Feedback on SBAR

As we near the end of the first semester, I have been reflecting, both on my own and with my team, on the changes that we made this semester to support our standards-based assessment and reporting (SBAR) philosophy. The adjustments that I expect to make in our honors physics class are minor since we now have three semester of SBAR under our belts. However, this is the first semester of incorporating SBAR into our regular physics classes. While we, as a team, have some [ideas on adjustments to make for second semester](, I wanted to capture feedback from the most important stakeholder of all, our students.

Inspired by [Ms. Bethea’s survey]( that she administered at the start of the year, I created a survey to capture student feedback on various aspects of class: standards, grades, quizzes and exams, labs, other learning activities, and homework. Most questions permitted the typical strongly-agree to strongly-disagree responses, but a few were open-ended. All of my questions are available [here]( I don’t claim to have completed any sort of statistically significant scientific study, but I found responses interesting.

In the rest of this post I’ll share the responses of several of our students to the prompt “standards-based grading is …” to show their perspective. Some of these comments get me out of bed in the morning inspired; others, keep me up late at night concerned; and some, make me chuckle.

Get Me out of Bed in the Morning Comments

Standards-Based Grading Is…

> a good alternative to the traditional grading system. In many of my other classes that do not use standards based grading, I feel that I do not really understand what I am learning, but rather, I am worried about my grade more than anything. The type of standards based grading utilized in physics ensures that I can focus on acctually learning new material, as I know that if I learn the material, I’ll have a good grade. Addtionally, I like the fact that we don’t keep losing points for simple “silly” mistakes, as this is where I usually lose points on, even though I usually understand the overall concept. This is why I feel that standards based grading is also a more accurate depiction of what people really know.

> a great way to show learning in physics. It makes me think less about a letter grade and more about actually mastering the concepts we cover.

> A great way for people to show what they know. If they did not understand the full idea, they can always go back and learn what they need to know. It also gives the students the knowledge as to what the teacher will be grading them on. It also saves the grade of a student who learns at a slower pace or looks at the curriculum at a different aspect than others.

> fantastic. There’s more focus on what school should be about: comprehension of material retention. It is a wonderful new program; I believe courses should be taught with a much stronger foothold of standardized based grading.

> Very helpful in increasing my grade and helping me further understand the material in class. The clear targets allow me to study specifically what I need to know, and I feel like I will better retain the information that I’ve learned this year.

> A way to break down the material of a class and be assesed on individual topics.

> only being able to move on when you fully understand a concept

> awesome. This is the first year that I’ve had it, and I actually have A’s in both of the classes that I have that use it … . I think that this system really gives students the opportunity to show that they know the material, rather than getting points for doing homework and such.

> more helpful than regular grading for most classes because you are not penalized for small non target-related mistakes.

> good because you get a second chance to prove yourself, and improve, where as normal grading does not allow that.

> A system that can be harsh if you don’t completely understand a concept, but forgiving if you spend the time to learn it and utilize second-tries.

Keep Me up Late at Night Comments

Standards-Based Grading Is…

> a system of grading on a 4,3,2,1 / 3,2,1 system, instead of percentages, apparently that has to be used … because some people can’t handle regular grading.

> detrimental to my grade. Though it places less pressure on me, I don’t feel like my grade in the class accurately reflects my understanding of the material nor the amount of work that I put into it.

> Stressful and unindividual. My grade should be a reflection of my personal effort and growth.

> REALLY ANNOYING, it penalizes you more then anything else because you have less points, and even if you just miss a few questions, you still get a zero for that target which has a huge impact on your overall test score instead of jsut getting a number grade which would be like an 85% or something. I hate SBG. I dont see the point of it what so ever.

Defy Classification Comments

Standards-Based Grading Is…

> Another type of conspiracy, but less severe and possibly more helpful, although, it still will create a schism between those who understand, and those who don’t; however, this sort of grading measures how well someone knows the right answers rather than how well they can repeat it.

> Pretty cool..i guess it could screw you over if you’re not careful…but whatever

What does this all mean? I don’t know yet. We’ll discuss some of the feedback tomorrow in class. I’ll have to reflect on all of this between semesters.

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