Numbers Don't Count

The anxiety before getting a test back can overwhelm you. From the sweat on your brow to the tingle in your toes as the teacher hands back the tests.

You see the frustration and remorse in the students faces who were first to get them back. You become even more scared and stressed. The teacher begin’s walking right toward you and hands you a crisp white paper. You hesitantly search for the grade and find something awful; a “3”. Standard based grading is less efficient for a student’s understanding, learning, and achievement.

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Standards-based grading confuses students. How? Standards-based evaluation systems typically use a four-point scale, with a “1” being “Not achieving the standard” and a “4” “Exceeding the standard.” What could be confusing about something so simple? Well, with only a four-point gradient, there is little margin for error which means there is vast space for growth. “I think standards-based grading doesn’t have a lot of purpose because being a 3 is not a motivator,” a local Vermont student says. When interviewed, most students equate a 3 out of 4 as 75%. That’s just basic math.

The common coreto get a 3 means 100%. Does this mean that they can’t get a 4? In standard based grading there is not much room for improvement. There are 13 different letter grades including plus’ and minus’ but there are only 4 in Standard based grading. Let’s say you are average, 3, your doing well andall of a sudden you che3ck your grades and you see a wretched puke yellow bar with a 2.7.

You continue getting 3’s but your grade only changed by .1 points! “I used to have A’s and B’s but then we switched to standard-based grading, and now my grades are 2’s and 3’s.” another local student of Vermont commented along with many. All teachers have their different ways of teaching, motivating, disciplining and even grading. Some teachers give a 4 only if there was a bonus problem or an extra credit. That means that you would have to get a grade percentage higher than 100%! Most students today can barely keep up to the average which defeats the purpose of grading.