What do grades communicate in a standards-based approach?

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In Standards-Based Education (SBE), a grade is a tool to communicate student’s progress. It is not a form of compensation between the teacher and the student.

Beginning in the 2011-2012 school year, district assessment scores will no longer reflect points or percentages. Instead, they will reflect a student’s performance based on specific learning criteria. Grades will reflect the student’s level of knowledge through the percentage of power standards that he or she meets.

In the current system, a grade represents different criteria, depending on the teacher or the course. The grade may reflect extra credit, class participation, attendance, effort and work habits. Each teacher grades according to what he or she believes is most important, and grading often measures a student’s standing relative to his or her classmates. Sometimes, grades are used punitively, which can cause more damage than motivation.