Standards-based Reporting- Parents Just Don’t Understand

It seems like a no-brainer to me… students should be graded on achievement, not effort.  However, every time I read about schools introducing Standards-based Grading to their parent community, the backlash is loud and clear… and very negative.

Take a look at this article out of Milwaukee, then read all of the comments.

First of all, I would like Arrty to speak with our teacher/parent community- he is so passionate (and refreshingly blunt).

Parents need to understand this necessary shift in education.  The only way to get their understanding and support is through communication.  This communication must not begin once the school, or district, has made up its mind- Parents need to be part of the process.

Oh, wait, I’m jumping the gun… the teachers also need to understand this shift in order to support it.  They must understand how to assess learning, as well as behaviors – but separately.  They must be able to support their grading practices.  They must use meaningful feedback on formative assessments so students learn more (and better)- and then use the data from the formative assessments to direct their teaching.  Therefore, teachers need to be part of the process.

Without the understanding and support of teachers and parents, this will be an unfortunate failure.  Then we will be back to teaching for yesterday instead of tomorrow.

This is more than a shift, this is 21st Century Learning.

Who’s on the bus?

2 thoughts on “Standards-based Reporting- Parents Just Don’t Understand

  1. Absolutely! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been involved in trying to switch over to standards based grading and the parents freaked out because their kids needed regular grades to get into college. I don’t have a complete answer to that yet but change is coming.

    The exciting thing is that we finally have the technology tools that make instant, formative assessment possible. I am also very fond of an instructional strategy called Layered Curriculum ( This is a student-centered, differentiated system that teaches students that what they think and learn is much more important than any piece of paper they might turn in. They learn to research, defend and demonstrate what they know and that’s where the grade comes from.


  2. I would also like to see honor assemblies for learning behaviors instead of grades. 🙂
    Parents put so much emphasis on the actual academic grades, that they do not realize what it takes to make a living and be successful in life. I know some schools have even stopped giving grades most of the year. They just get learning behavior grades until the end of the semester. In our home, we only reward our boys for the learning behavior grades. We have made it very clear to our boys that if the learning behavior grades are high, the academic will reflect that. To us,one is way more important than the other.


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