What Do My Grades Really Mean?
In basic education, there is indeed a need for a teacher to communicate to the parents how a child is progressing in school. This communication needs to be concise but also meaningful. My children currently attend martial arts classes at Master Dietrich's Karate in Burke, Virginia. Dietrich encourages his students to bring and share their report card. It is part of a "black belt attitude" training. Sharing report cards whether these are exemplary or not is important for a family, for a community. For bringing a report card, Dietrich gives an "attitude" stripe and when a student earns a new belt, the student that has the most "attitude" stripes receives a trophy.
|Master Dietrich with my two children winning their trophies for attitude.|
- 4 -consistently demonstrates
- 3 -usually demonstrates
- 2 -sometimes demonstrates
- 1 -seldom demonstrates
The above report card is an example of Standards Based Grading. First, it highlights the fact that each student is an individual learner. The marks are not cumulative and are not expected to be averaged. The students’ grades are representative of the student’s progress at the time the teacher writes the progress report. What is being graded is also made very clear. For each subject, this is likewise transparent. For instance, the following is an example for mathematics:
Surprisingly, Dietrich's Karate also works on a Standards Based Grading system. There are no "ABC's" or "123's" that need to be averaged. To advance, a student must demonstrate a technique that has been recently taught.
Standards Based Grading is evidently a more meaningful and understandable way of communicating a student's progress in school. It has also been shown to have "both higher correlations and higher mean scores and grades across the overall population and sub-groups" in a Colorado study. This is one area where the Department of Education in the Philippines is obviously way behind. While the new K to 12 curriculum is touted as "learner-centered, inclusive, developmentally appropriate, relevant, responsive, research-based, culture-sensitive, contextualized, global, constructivist, inquiry-based, reflective, collaborative and integrative", it still clings to the traditional grading system:
|Above copied from DepEd Order 8 s.2015|
|Above copied from Big Nate|