Standards-Based Grading: College admissions

A teacher from a local school district (perhaps in response to a local TV station's news story) emailed me with the following inquiry last week:


I had a teacher make the following argument against SBG and I would like your thoughts so I can be as prepared as possible...

They said that some of the more prestigious schools of higher learning are not accepting students grades that went through a SBG system as accurate because of the opportunities to reassess. I believe the example he cited was the Naval Academy.   He indicated that a student was told they would need to attend the U of I for a year to prove themselves before their application would be considered.

Have you heard of this craziness?

Here was my response:
It is good to hear from you.  I had not heard about the Naval Academy or similar examples.  Here are a few things that may be worth sharing with this teacher and others as it comes up.
  • Our high school transcript has not changed, therefore unless college/university admissions offices treat our students just as they have prior to standards-based grading (in other words, the information teachers use to generate a grade for a class has changed to more accurate reflect learning, however a letter grade still exists and is reported)
  • We know that some students who are homeschooled do not receive letter grades, however they are admitted to colleges and universities across the country based on their evidence of learning such as academic portfolios, ACT or SAT scores, etc.  
In summary, I cannot believe this Naval Academy example is true.  The college admissions representatives and administrators I've talked with over the years readily admit the rigor or grades varies from school to school and that the changes we've made in our district will not negatively impact our students. 
What insights do YOU have for this "craziness?" 
Thank you, Brad Latzke for pointing out the Hanover Research Council’s Study on 
Standards-Based Grading and College Admissions

Eight Questions from ASCD

ASCD asked me a few questions.  They posted the responses on one of their blogs.