Top 5 standards-based grading articles (2019)

In the past, I curated and recommended lists of standards-based grading books and articles for practitioners and fellow researchers to read. A bulleted list of links to these lists is below.

A year has passed, therefore it was once again time to sift through the research and commentary from the past twelve months. Without further ado, I present to you the top five (5) articles written in the area of standards-based grading practices (in alphabetical order by lead author’s last name).

  1. Battistone, W., Buckmiller, T., & Peters, R. (2019). Assessing assessment literacy: Are new teachers prepared to assume jobs in school districts engaging in grading and assessment reform efforts? Studies in Educational Evaluation, 62, 10-17

    As school leaders embark upon grading shifts, they may question whether or not new teachers are prepared to engage in this type of work. This study suggests teacher education training on assessment is inconsistent at best with several corresponding implications for educators.
  2. Feldman, J. (2019). Beyond standards-based grading: Why equity must be part of grading reform. Kappan, 100(8), 52-55. [Available online]

    Joe Feldman lays out a clear argument for traditional grading as a means of perpetuating inequity. Beyond the typical psychometric, social, and logical arguments for standards-based grading, Feldman incorporates a number of helpful examples of how institutional grading bias can and should be overcome in order to create a more equitable learning environment for all students.
  3. Knight, M. & Cooper, R. (2019). Taking on a new grading system: The interconnected effects of standards-based grading on teaching, learning, assessment, and student behavior. NASSP Bulletin, 103(1), 65-92.

    One often overlooked reason for implementing standards-based grading is how it benefits teachers’ instructional practices. Teachers interviewed in this study report a number of benefits including a more coherent focus in their teaching, and a sense of more purposeful instruction that is more conducive to student needs while enhancing student growth mind-set and ownership.
  4. Guskey, T. R. & Link, L. (2019). The forgotten element of instructional leadership: Grading. Educational Leadership, 76(6).  [Available online]

    Many school leaders may not consider shifts in grading because they lack training on effective grading practices and/or teacher evaluation systems do not often prioritize grading. The authors suggest school leaders study effective grading policies and practices, promote teacher collaboration focused on grading, and clarify the purpose of grading throughout the school. I highly recommend all school leaders take the time to read this article in 2020.
  5. Townsley, M., Buckmiller, T., & Cooper, R. (2019). Anticipating a second wave of standards-based grading implementation and understanding the potential barriers: Perceptions of high school principals. NASSP Bulletin, 103(4), 281-299.

    Full disclosure: This was one of several articles I authored or co-authored on grading in 2019, but it was my favorite one, so I could not leave it off the list!
    Our research followed up on a study from 2014 to identify the challenges secondary school leaders experience when changing the currency of the classroom from points to learning. The results indicated that the game is changing and a new wave of SBG implementation is on the horizon.

What articles would you add to this list from 2019?

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