As promised, here’s part two of our implementation benchmarks. (You can see part one here.)
As I wrote earlier this week, please use this rubric in any way that you see fit. It can be used beforehand to review what should be in place at your school or district to ensure effective implementation of a standards-based grading system. Already in the midst of that work? Then use it to review what’s in place, how well it’s in place, and what might still need to be developed.
Also, while you’re using these benchmarks, keep us posted. What did we get wrong? What’s confusing about them? Send us your comments, thoughts, criticisms, kudos, etc. We want to hear what you think!
Lastly, we have a PDF version of these, if you wish; feel free to be in touch if you want a copy.
BENCHMARK 6: My school/district administration provides adequate time and resources for training and professional development for teachers and staff members.
“While teachers were trained on how to use JumpRope as a tool, we were surprised by how much the system ‘pushed’ teachers to change their practice. As a result, we realized that there was a lot of professional development required to get over the learning curve of standards-based grading (independent of the tool).”
BENCHMARK 7: My school/district has the resources and expertise to manage and support a new mission-critical technical tool.
“While we have many computers in our schools and use Google Apps for education, adopting an online gradebook was challenging because it was not an optional system for teachers. At critical moments when grades were due, we found that we ran into technical problems that made that process difficult.”
BENCHMARK 8: My school/district values and honors the difference between academic learning and habits of work, their relationship to one another, and the importance of each in analyzing and communicating mastery data.
“While our staff seemed to buy in to the idea of separating academic scores from habits of work, implementing it in practice was challenging. Since we told students their grades would ultimately come solely from academic scores, many teachers gamed the system by finding ways to sneak habits of work into their academic scores - essentially undermining the integrity of the whole system. Over time, we learned to find other ways to incentivize, recognize, and hold students accountable to the habits of work so that it wasn’t an empty number on the page. Once we did that, we found the separation of the two types of data incredibly valuable to teachers, students, parents, and support staff.”
BENCHMARK 9: My school/district implements cycles of on-going formative assessment and varied, robust summative assessment, which can all be aligned to standards.
“After a year of using JumpRope, it became clear that it was not designed to be a ‘standards-tracker’ that lives alongside a gradebook. Our school was using it exclusively to track ongoing, standardized interim assessments and state exams on a per-standard basis. A few times per year, teachers would perform item analysis on the exams and enter the data into JumpRope. We did not use it as a formative assessment tool, and it did not replace our existing gradebook. As such, teachers complained that it took too much time to use and that the reports were too complicated.”
BENCHMARK 10: My school/district engages students in the learning process by regularly communicating feedback and providing opportunities for self-assessment, growth, and self-directed learning.
“When I was using JumpRope, I found that it provided me (as a teacher) with valuable data. It wasn’t until I began to engage students regularly by sharing their data in printouts (and later the online portal) that I realized that standards-based grading is most effective when students a) understand what their goals are and what they mean; b) regularly get the chance to show mastery and see feedback (frequent assessment). Once they truly engaged with the standards and the feedback, we reached the holy grail of students asking teachers for opportunities to show mastery.”