In early 2016, I wrote what I thought were the “Top 10 standards-based grading articles” available at that time. Nearly three years have past and a number of quality articles have been written in that time.
Here we go!
- Brookhart, S. M., Guskey, T. R., Bowers, A. J., McMillan, J. H., Smith, J. K., Smith, L. F., Stevens, M. T., & Welsh, M. E. (2016). A century of grading research: Meaning and value in the most common educational measure. Review of Educational Research, 86(4), 803-848. [Available online]
Too often, those of us in education receive some of the same questions from multiple audiences. In the case of changing grading practices, I often hear, “Why do we need to change our grading practices? They worked for me!” One article I often point to is this one, which I believe will someday be seminal work in our field. The authors conclude, “One hundred years of grading research have generally confirmed large variation among teachers in the validity and reliability of grades, both in the meaning of grades and the accuracy of reporting.” In other words, traditional grades have all kinds of problems.
- O’Connor, K. (2017). A case for standards-based grading and reporting. School Administrator, 74(1), 24-28. [Available online]
Ken has written a number of excellent books and this article seems to sum them all up in a concise way. Although the original audience of the article was school superintendents, I feel confident sharing it with anyone interested in an overview of both why and how grading practices should improve.
- Buckmiller, T., Peters, R., & Kruse, J. (2017). Questioning points and percentages: Standards-based grading in higher education. College Teaching, 65(1), 1-7. doi:10.1080/87567555.2017.1302919.
Standards-based grading can be done in higher education! Tom, Randy and Jerrid document the perceptions of students in an educational technology course. In fact, the learners reported SBG was clear, more fair and a means for going beyond “playing the game of school” in college.
- Scarlett, M. H. (2018). “Why did I get a C?” Communicating student performance using standards-based grading. Insight: A Journal of Scholarly Teaching, 13, 59-75. [Available online]
Dr. Scarlett proves yet again that standards-based grading cane be done in higher education, this time with an impressive attention to the planning and implementation details.
- James, A. R. (2018). Grading in physical education. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 89(5), 5-7. doi: 10.1080/07303084.2018.1442063. [Available online]
It seems like standards-based grading early adopters are typically in the core content areas such as math, ELA or science, due to the accessibility of state and national standards documents. In this article, the author describes what SBG looks like in physical education. This write-up will inevitably be helpful for schools going “all-in: with SBG and few PE examples to draw from.
- Buckmiller, T., & Peters, R.. (2018). Getting a fair shot?. School Administrator, 75(2), 22-25. [Available online]
Buckmiller and Peters receive fifteen points of extra credit for landing on this list more than once. When high schools make a change to standards-based grading practices, one of the often-noted concerns is around implications for the higher education admissions process. Through interviewing staff at several university admissions, the authors document several themes which include, “Letter grades and transcripts based on standards are acceptable, if not preferable, in the eyes of admissions offices, but with some caveats.” In other words, high school students experiencing SBG are getting a fair shot when applying for college.
- Reeves, D., Jung, L. A., & O’Connor, K. (2017). What’s worth fighting against in grading? Educational Leadership, 74(8), 42-45.
It would be hard to NOT include this article collectively written by three of the most often cited experts in the grading reform field. Reeves, Jung and O’Connor clear the air and suggest several non-negotiables schools should consider in their quest to better communicate/report student learning.
- Wormeli, R. (2017). We have to prepare students for the next level, don’t we? AMLE Magazine, 5(1), ##-##. [Available online]
The title speaks for itself. Rather than worrying about the next grade or institution of learning, educators should “…not sacrifice good instruction because those in upper levels are not there yet. Instead, we employ what we know works, and we spend time mentoring those above us in what we do.”
- Townsley, M. (2018). Mastery-minded grading in secondary schools. School Administrator, 75(2), 16-21. [Available online]
I hesitated to include one of my own articles in this list, but by golly, I think it does a nice job describing what standards-based grading can look like at the secondary level. Feel free to let me know in the comments if you think my thinking was severely clouded when elevating this one to the top ten.
- Tucker, C. (2018). Rethinking grading. Educational Leadership, 75(5). [Available online]
I’m not sure how I missed this article until a month ago when I was doing a literature search. Catlin lays out her fears and successes when implementing standards-based grading in a way that really resonated with me.
What articles would you add to this list from 2016-2018?