Units and Standards

Parent Guide to Standards Based Grading 

At University Academy, our Standards-Based Report Card seeks to provide meaningful feedback so both students and parents can track student progress toward mastery of key academic concepts, reflect upon strengths and weaknesses, and identify multiple pathways to deeper learning. The University Academy LS Staff have committed to Standards Based Grading Practices for the entire elementary school starting 2018-2019. The primary purposes of grading include providing feedback to students for self-assessment and growth and encouraging student progress and self-monitoring of learning. The secondary purpose of grading at University Academy LS is to communicate achievement status to students, parents and staff.  

Standards Based Grading Marks: 

These are the scoring marks that will be used on Progress Reports and Report Cards.

I- Introduced The Standard has been introduced at the time of grading but has not been assessed. 
NM- Not Meeting The student has mastered less than 69% of the assessed material. 
P- Progressing The student has mastered 70-79% of the assessed material.  They are progressing towards mastering the standard. 
M- Meets The student has shown mastery over 80% or more of the assessed material.  

What is standards-based grading?

Standards-based grading communicates how students are performing on a set of clearly defined learning targets called standards. The purpose of standards-based grading is to identify what a student knows, or is able to do, in relation to pre-establish learning targets, as opposed to simply averaging grades/scores over the course of a grading period, which can mask what a student has learned, or not learned, in a specific course.

How does standards-based grading differ from traditional grading?

Unlike with traditional grading systems, a standards-based grading system measures a student’s mastery of grade-level standards by prioritizing the most recent, consistent level of performance. Thus a student who may have struggled at the beginning of a course, when first encountering new material, may still be able to demonstrate mastery of key content/concepts by the end of a grading period.

In a traditional grading system, a student’s performance for an entire quarter is averaged together. Early quiz scores that were low would be averaged together with more proficient performance later in the course, resulting in a lower overall grade than current performance indicates.

Standards-based report cards separate academic performance from work habits and behavior in order to provide parents a more accurate view of a student’s progress in both academic and behavioral areas. Variables such as effort, participation, timeliness, cooperation, attitude and attendance are reported separately, not as an indicator of a student’s academic performance.

How are my child’s marks determined?

A student’s performance on a series of assessments (both formative and summative) will be used to determine a student’s overall grade in a course. Practice assignments (homework) are just that, practice, and thus should serve primarily as a source of feedback and instructional support for both students and teachers. Scores on practice assignments will not be used as a component of a student’s academic grade. Teachers will require students to complete all of their practice work prior to allowing them to take, or retake, an assessment.

Will my student still receive teacher comments on their report card?

Yes. Individualized feedback is an essential component of standards-based grading. Effective feedback is a more useful source of information than simply assigning a numeric value or letter grade to student work.

If my student receives a majority of M marks, does that mean they have met the criteria to move on to the next grade?

We use a variety of criteria to determine if a student is ready to move to the next grade.  The student will need to be reading on grade level, meet the SRI score and pass the grade level benchmark assessments as well as maintaining a majority of Mastered marks.  (80% or higher)

If my student usually gets M marks and then they receive a few P or NM marks, are they in trouble and need help?  

Not all students will master the standard at first.  If you see that your student is receiving a few P or NM marks, they will need to complete some additional practice prior to attempting to master the standard again.  They need to Master at least 70% of the standards for each class.

If a student receives a majority of NM marks, does that mean the student will be retained?

Intervention opportunities are in place at UA Lower School to support learners who are behind in math and reading. If a student receives NM or P marks, it means his/her work is not yet meeting grade level standards. A number of academic interventions will be offered to those students who are struggling to meet the established standards. Grade level retention will be considered if a student does not master more than 70% of all the standards for each class. Other factors such as Reading On Level, SRI, Benchmark Assessments and MAP Assessment scores will also be part of the determination.  

How will I know if my child needs help?

Receiving multiple NM or P’s (insufficient evidence) on a grade report/report card can be a sign that a student is in need of extra support in the areas where they are receiving low marks. This is one benefit of a standards-based report card, areas in need of support are clearly evident.