Standards Based Grading Rubric for Math – Part 2

Standards Based Grading Rubric for Math Concepts

SBG Rubric

If you have not read the first post where the rubric was discussed, you can read it here. Or jump to the comments and follow the discussions that have been started on that post. Below, I will continue on with my thoughts about the transition to SBG in our math class.

Having joined the blogging/twitter math universe only three weeks ago, I have been amazed by the support and ideas generated by those interested in a similar pursuit of teaching effectively in a manner that provides feedback to our students on where they stand in their learning. Thanks! I probably cannot get my grading system perfect this year, but know that through ideas generated here, it can be continuously tweaked.

Looking at the four point rubric, this is the natural breakdown that you see first:

4 – 100%
3 – 75%
2 – 50%
1 – 25%
0 – 0%

What’s wrong with that? Well, first points and numbers don’t mean anything until you have designated what a 3 or a 4 looks like when assessing a standard. While thinking about this, I was also provided a source that covers this same topic.

If you look at my ninja SBG rubric, borrowed from here, you will see that there is some detail on what each looks like. So, here is how I might interpret those scores into percentage grades, since that is what I am to report quarterly.

4 – Complete understanding, no mistakes. I can equate this with an A. Does this mean that a student with mostly 4’s, but a 3 should not receive an A? I will talk about conjunctive standards based grading below, instead of simply averaging scores.
3 – Strong understanding, but making mistakes. This category runs between a B and C, in my book. What kind of mistakes? Are they frequent, or just so happened to go about the question wrong?
2 – Basic understanding, needs more practice. I equate this with a C. The student recognizes when to apply a concept, but doesn’t know how to follow through, completely. Yet, if a student were to score all 2’s on the standards, I would be concerned about their level of understanding (also equating this with a D).
1 – Very little or no understanding. This would fall in the D to F range. Student is not ready to move on to new topics that build from this concept.

How to configure the overall grade?

Through reading blogs here and here, I was introduced to the idea of conjunctive standards based grading. I think of this as the next step in eliminating the ‘points game’ that students play with averaging their scores and getting them just high enough to be satisfying for their own good and that of their parents.

Conjunctive grading is where the good scores cannot make up for the bad scores. Isn’t one of the reasons for switching to SBG, to get the students to master all the concepts and show their progress throughout? By eliminating averaging of scores, students need to continue and work on low scores to bring up their proficiency in areas where they struggle.

I remember last year, where I continually had students breaking my door down the entire last week of each quarter, battling to bring up those percentage points. “What do I need to do?”, “How can I raise that score?”, and “Do you think this assignment will be enough to bump my grade up?” were all too commonly spoken. Implementing SBG and then providing a conjunctive grading system where they know exactly where they need to be with each standard can clearly show them what needs to be worked on.

This approach also eliminates the student from having to wait until that last week of the quarter to see where the cards have fallen. If a score of 1 or 2 on a standards assessment is received during week three, they know they should work to improve that score no matter what.

I have inserted a table below on where I currently am with configuring overall grades. Students will be assessed on about 8 standards per quarter. After making the table, does it seem hard to follow, or simply in need of a complete makeover? The ‘Lowest Standard Score’ means that for an overall grade of ‘A’, they need to score 3 or higher on all assessments. Re-takes are possible to override a low score.

Grade Lowest Standard Score At Least…
A 3.0 two standard scores of 4.0
B 2.0 five standard scores of 3.0
C 2.0 two standard scores of 3.0
D 1.0 two standard scores of 2.0
F less than 1.0

This will work with both kinds of assessments used in my class (quizzes and projects). Project based assessment will vary in depth, with them sometimes being a simple capstone project, as described in this comment by Frank Noschese. With iPads in class, students will have the opportunity for recording these via the apps, Educreations, Showme, or Screenchomp about two times a month. Additionally, Explain Everything could be used if needing to implement a browser into the screencast.

This also forces me to create rubrics for all of my standard based projects on the scale of 1-4 points. This will be great in really thinking through projects and naming what it is about each that is important for the students to understand.

Am I making this all too complicated??

7 thoughts on “Standards Based Grading Rubric for Math – Part 2

  1. Instead of “complicating things” I think it actually simplifies them.

    However, I am not sure the table matches up with your views of 4-3-2-1-0 from above.

    For example:
    4 “equates with A” but a student only needs to two 4’s (out of 8) to get an A.

    1 implies “very little or no understanding” and yet a student can receive six (out of 8) 1’s and still pass the class.

    These seem “lower” than your orginal descriptions. Something to think about.

    • Very helpful insight. I was thinking that the ‘A’ grade should require a few more scores of 4. This will probably be changed to “at least four standard scores of 4.0”.

      I had not noticed the ‘D’ grade issue, though, and totally agree that receiving mostly scores of one should not equate with passing.

      Two weeks until the start of school, and as I gear up again to implement this, I will look at these adjustments.

      Thanks again, Cindy!

  2. I used a similar system (phrased conjunctive bits mostly with “no score below 2,” etc., but it’s close enough).

    I noticed that, aside from a few folks sunk by a single standard (rarely sunk at the end of the term – usually just freaked out in the middle), there was little effect. That is, there were few difference between the averages and the conjunctive method. I now phrase mine as the average with a “nothing lower than 3” condition. After all of the changing that we’re doing with their grading systems that they know and love (to scam), it gives them something to hang on to, while not actually changing the results much at all.

    • Thanks for the input. As I look at the changes I mentioned to Cindy, above, I also want to fill out some sample student scores and see how this does work if I were to use this same rubric with averages. That should help. And I agree that allowing them some kind of familiarity could be good.

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  4. Very interesting. One reason I’ve kept the percentages linked to the numbers is that I don’t really think a 2 should be passing (70), but it’s high enough not to tank the student’s grade. It has bothered me, though, that a student can pass the class while not passing all of the objectives. Definitely something for me to think about.

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