May 18, 2017

Grading on Proficiency Scales

Our district is moving toward standards based grading. It's very exciting because we're doing something purposeful and with forethought and planning. Next year just the core 9th grade classes will use it. I've been doing a modified version of standards based grading for years, however this will be different. We are doing truly standards based grading as opposed to skills based grading. We will be grading against 11 standards in algebra one and each has a list of skills for students to master. The grading happens on a proficiency scale like this:

We're really struggling with how to track students' progress. When we enter grades into our online grading system we'll only enter the number for the whole standard. So a quiz early in the unit might only assess some skills so the maximum score will be a 2. Later in the unit when the maximum score will be a 3, we won't have a way to record in the online grading system which skills a student mastered if they don't reach a 3. But if kids need to do retakes we need some way to track what skills they need to provide evidence for.

Options we've considered:

  • paper copies of proficiency scales, highlight each skill they master, show them to students but keep them in the room (binder or crate of hanging file folders)
  • paper copies of proficiency scales, highlight each skill they master, give them to students and also track in a spreadsheet
  • start using google classroom, digitally highlight proficiency scales (there's apparently a way to attach rubrics to assignments?) so student and teacher can see
Has anyone done standards based grading like this before? Any suggestions?


  1. Is there any way you could share all of the algebra 1 standards with me? I've been struggling with skills based grading vs standards based grading and I really like how you guys lay that out above.

    One idea is if you can type in decimals into the grade book, you could come up with a number system to indicate which skills are mastered. For example, two studies might have a 2.5, but one has a 2.50235 and the other has a 2.50124. Those last digits indicate which standards they've mastered. It's a hack, but it's one way to keep track of info and/or communicate it to students. That's if that many decimals are allowed in the grading program. Thanks!!

    1. We just finished reviewing all our proficiency scales and are waiting to verify the language for the .5's with the district. Once they're all updated I will blog and share the full list.

      That's a creative hack. I'm hoping to avoid something like that but it's a good back up option!

  2. So, I do work with a group that is working with an open standards format and "rubric" for the standards is something we're including in the specification. ( We want to eventually include a rubric just like this in the official published CCSS Math standards. ; would love to chat and what we'd probably have to do is get a look at a bunch of rubrics for the standards like that about what shows proficiency in order to get something that most folks could agree on as "canon" and be included in CCSS proliferation.