Top 10 Standards-Based Grading Books

I received some positive feedback from the Top 10 Standards-Based Grading Articles list, so I thought it might be helpful to share a similar list of books¹.

  1. O’Connor, K. (2009). How to grade for learning, K-12 (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
    Ken O’Connor has written a number of books and articles geared toward practitioners.  How to Grading for Learning was helpful for me to think through several components of grading I needed to change in my own classroom.  These components include “basing grades on standards” and “emphasizing most recent information.”  There’s a reason the grade doctor’s books are so popular!
  2. Guskey, T.R. (2015). On your mark: Challenging the conventions of grading and reporting. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.
    No top ten list of standards-based grading books would be complete without at least one written by Dr. Tom Guskey.  On Your Mark is a comprehensive piece written for an audience who needs to understand why grading practices need to change.  I envision these chapters as meaningful content for book study teams in schools across the country.
  3. Wormeli, R. (2006). Fair isn’t always equal: Assessing and grading in the differentiated classroom. Portland, OR: Stenhouse.
    Rick Wormeli is an author and former middle school practitioner.  This book tackles concepts such as redos and retakes, the role of homework in the final grade and setting up grade books that reflect student learning.  I often categorize Wormeli’s work as less standardized than Marzano and more practical than Guskey.
  4. Jung, L. & Guskey, T.R. (2012). Grading exceptional and struggling learners. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
    Not sure what the role of ELL and special education students is within a standards-based grading context?  When are accommodations appropriate?  When should modifications be made to the standards themselves?  This book has some answers!
  5. Guskey, T. R., & Jung, L.A. (2013). Answers to essential questions about standards, assessments, grading, & reporting. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
    If educators are looking for a book in the form of frequently asked questions, this is it.  Beyond theory and outside of day-to-day classroom practice, Guskey and Jung lay out responses to questions teachers, administrators, parents and school board members may have about non-traditional grading practices.  
  6. Brookhart, S. M. (2013). Grading and group work. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
    Group work is still a valuable part of standards-based grading classrooms!  Susan Brookhart helps readers understand the difference between learning in collaborative groups and assessing group work.  Any teacher or school moving towards standards-based grading would benefit from understanding these ideas early on in the process.
  7. Reeves, D. (2010). Elements of grading: A guide to effective practice. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.
    I have always appreciated Dr. Doug Reeves as a speaker and author.  This book is no exception.  Reeves blends together research, logic and examples from schools to help readers think through toxic grading practices and their solutions.  Keep an eye out for the second edition of this book!
  8. Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2007). Checking for understanding: Formative assessment techniques for your classroom. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
    Fisher and Frey’s book holds a special place in my heart, because the day I had the initial “I’d like to try out standards-based grading in my classroom” discussion with my high school principal, he handed me this book as a resource.  I believe grading and assessment practices need to go hand in hand.  This book provides more than enough practical tips and strategies for a classroom teacher to try out in a school year.
  9. Marzano, R. J. (2010). Formative Assessment & Standards-Based Grading. Bloomington, IN: Marzano Research Laboratory.
    It would have been hard to create a top ten standards-based grading books without including this Marzano text.  Of all of the books I’ve read the past ten years, this was the most highly anticipated one, however I cannot recommend all of the ideas presented for across-the-board use.  Marzano uses a formulaic way of creating tiered assessments that, while easily scalable across multiple classrooms and buildings, appears to go against my beliefs about authentic and meaningful classroom assessment.
  10. Heflebower, T., Hoegh, J.K., & Warrick, P. (2014). A school leader’s guide to standards-based grading. Bloomington, IN: Marzano Research Laboratory.
    See previous comments about the Marzano book on formative assessment and standards-based grading.  It would also be hard to create a list without including this book, because it is the only book I know of focused on school leaders.  Enjoy!

What books would you add to this list? 

¹All of the books on this list are focused on effective grading practices with or without a strong “standards-based” grading title.

2 thoughts on “Top 10 Standards-Based Grading Books

  1. Hacking Assessment: 10 Ways to Go Gradeless in a Traditional Grades School (Hack Learning Series Book 3) by Starr Sackstein

  2. Pingback: Bring Standards-Based Grading To Your School — Successfully! Part 1 | Expanding Learning Frontiers

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