Standards-based Grading

What is Standards-based Grading?

Standards-based grading is a system that gives students, parents, and teachers a clearer picture of a student’s progress. A standards-based grade indicates progress toward mastery of the standards established for a course. In a standards-based grading system, A-F, or a letter-grading system is not used. Student progress is reported as a level of proficiency. At P.K. Yonge we use Exceeding Benchmarks, Meeting Benchmarks, Not Meeting Benchmarks, and Not Yet Assessed in our Elementary system, and Expert, Proficient, Approaching Proficiency, Not Meeting, and Insufficient Evidence in Secondary.



Watch the Standards-based Grading Parent Guide Video.


Why is P.K. Yonge using a standards-based grading system?

P.K. Yonge is continuing the transition to a standards-based assessment system and gradebook to provide students, parents, and teachers with more accurate information about students progress toward meeting content and skill standards.

A standards-based system will help us target instruction, reinforcement, and enrichment opportunities for all students. Parents also will be more aware of what their children should know and be able to do by the end of each grade level.

Our goal is to clearly communicate student progress to both students and families.


How will I know if my child’s class is using a standards-based gradebook or report card?

In our Elementary school, a standards-based grading system and report card have been implemented over the last few years. In secondary, teachers across grade levels are piloting the use of a standards-based gradebook in the 2017-18 school year. In 6th grade core classes (English Language Arts, Math, Science, and World Cultures) teachers will be using the standards-based gradebook and students will be receiving a standards-based report card.


How does the new grading system measure my child’s progress?

The new gradebook will use five different designations to indicate a child’s progress toward meeting the standards. The tables below (left-elementary, right-secondary) offer detailed explanations of what each designation means. On any gradebook, students may receive a mark to indicate that the curriculum related to a particular standard has not yet been taught or assessed.



How are standards-based gradebooks different from traditional gradebooks?

In a traditional gradebook, students receive one grade for each course (e.g., English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, World Cultures, Band). In a standards-based gradebook, each course (e.g., World Cultures) contains a series of subjects (e.g., culture; global interconnectedness; civic ideals). These subjects connect to standards specific to each course.

Students receive a separate designation of progress for each subject within a course. We are able to better support students with goal-setting and overall achievement of the academic standards by clearly communicating progress in a subject (rather than an entire course), and by keeping behaviors like effort or timeliness separate from the academic core.


How can I use the system to help my child succeed?

Standards-based grading provides more detail about how your child is doing in each course. These details will assist families in identifying content/skill areas for additional support as well as enrichment and challenge. Using these clearly defined goals, teachers and families can work together to facilitate students’ academic achievement.

During parent/guardian-teacher conferences, ask to see samples of your child’s work. Talk to your child’s teacher regarding the quality of work in these samples, whether learning goals have been reached and if not, some strategies for improvement. Ask how you can help your child improve or excel in various subjects and what resources are available to encourage their progress.

Grade marks are designed to communicate with parents/guardians — they should be helpful and easy to understand. If you have questions or concerns, please contact your child’s teacher or learning community leader.