Part three in the standards-based grading "how-to" crowdsourcing project.  Today, we're talking about the stuff that happens after the final regularly scheduled whole group assessment for a given standard.  In other words, 

How do we handle re-takes in a standards-based grading classroom?
What practical applications am I missing in this grading guideline document?  Your suggestions are welcome in the comments.  
Grading Guideline:  
“Students will be allowed multiple opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of classroom standards in various ways.  Retakes and revisions will be allowed.”

What it means....
  • Students learn at different subjects at varying rates, therefore students who did not demonstrate understanding by [insert date] should be allowed to demonstrate understanding at a later date.  
  • Teachers should provide individual students additional opportunities to demonstrate understanding after the final regularly scheduled whole group assessment for that particular standard. This can take place during class, study hall, seminar and/or outside of regular school hours.  
  • Teachers should consider utilizing multiple ways of assessing the same standard for different students.   
  • Students complete additional assessments targeting specific standards they currently do not understand at a high level.

What it doesn’t mean...

  • Students should be encouraged to retake assessments without first completing additional learning opportunities individually or with the teacher, peer or parent.  
  • Reassessments must be optional.  
  • Grading periods are eliminated or students’ quarter/semester grades need to be changed after the end of the grading period.
  • Students must complete the entire assessment again if they have already demonstrated a high level of understanding of a standard on a previous assessment.  

Briefs from the literature:
“Classroom assessments and grading should focus on how well – not on when – the student mastered the designated knowledge and skill” (McTighe & O’Connor, 2005)

“The goal is that all students learn the content, not just the ones who can learn on the uniform time line. Curriculum goals don't require that every individual reaches the same level of proficiency on the same day, only that every student achieves the goal.” (Wormeli, 2011)

Putting it into practice:
What works?
What are the common pitfalls to avoid?

  • Requiring students to complete extra practice problems and/or to participate in re-teaching or other learning opportunities before taking the next assessment on a standard the student has not previously demonstrated a high understanding.
  • Spiraling: Re-teach groups of students and then modify future assessments.  For example, include several questions about unit 1 standards on the unit 3 test.  
  • Differentiating the product: Allowing some students to demonstrate understanding of the causes of the civil war by writing a paper while others create a movie.  
  • Keeping a log of the number of times a student has completed optional reassessments for the purpose of communicating with parents.
  • Modeling: Requiring all students who did not demonstrate understanding on the first “final regularly scheduled whole group assessment for that particular standard” to complete another assessment for the purpose of demonstrating this change in your classroom early in the quarter/semester/year.
  • Communicating with parents and students when outside of class reassessment and additional learning opportunities will take place and asking students to sign-up ahead of time, i.e. “I will be available every Tuesday before school and Thursday after school.”

  • Allowing students to retake an assessment without first requiring they have demonstrated new understanding.
  • Requiring students to complete all additional assessments outside of class.
  • Not communicating reassessment opportunities and practices with parents and students.
Previous posts:

  1. Entries in the grade book that count towards the final grade will be limited to course or grade level standards.**  
  2. Extra credit will not be given at any time.
  3. Students will be allowed multiple opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of classroom standards in various ways.  Retakes and revisions will be allowed.  
  4. Teachers will determine grade book entries by considering multiple points of data emphasizing the most recent data and provide evidence to support their determination.
  5. Students will be provided multiple opportunities to practice standards independently through homework or other class work.  Practice assignments and activities will be consistent with classroom standards for the purpose  of providing feedback.  Practice assignments, including homework, will not be included as part of the final grade.    

**Exceptions will be made for midterm and/or final summative assessments.  These assessments, limited to no more than one per nine-week period may be reported as a whole in the grade book.