Foundations: How to talk about SBG QUICKLY!
Most of my posts are about standards-based grading (introduction to what SBG is, how to get started implementing SBG, what assessments look like in SBG, what reassessments look like, and more). That is quite a lot of information about a grading system. This can be quite daunting to someone looking to understand SBG or even make the switch. I totally get it as I remember spending hours researching different models and really digging in to figure out how grades are actually determined and communicated.
At my school, I am one of a handful of teachers that use SBG. This is totally fine as teachers are given the freedom to use whatever grading system and classroom norms that feel right to them. This freedom and openness actually gave me the confidence to dive in to SBG, knowing my school community supported and encouraged me. However, I do run into some challenges when my colleagues don't understand SBG and, as a result, find it challenging to address questions that may come from their advisees (each teacher serves as an academic advisor to about 8 students). While I am more than happy to answer questions from students and teachers alike (and I do!), sometimes (like at parent-advisor conferences) a non-SBG teacher has to be able to field SBG-based questions. This is kind of a newer problem since, years ago, every teacher used some version of points or percentages, something every teacher understood. I want my colleagues to both understand SBG and be confident allaying the fears of students and parents that come with something new and different.
Thinking beyond my personal experience, for those people who want to switch to SBG or simply understand it, should it take so much research to understand SBG? Some websites and blogs outline its philosophy quite succinctly and those are the ones I found most helpful at the beginning. After conversations with a colleague (thank you!), I took a crack at an efficient explanation of the grading system I love. I am sharing my current version here and below is the visual representation part of the overview. I do love a good graph!
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