All us crazy math teachers on the internet make use of standards based grading. It is the One True Path. However it is the Minority Path. After successfully field testing the method in my Algebra II and Pre-Cal classes, I got a training together for my math department. It was very well received and was able to get our Math Models team on board for the following semester. It needs a full year of deployment to see the benefits though. I am hoping that this year is a lot more interesting.

Anyway, a couple weeks ago (with some help) I developed a training on the subject for the district as a whole. Not like an all hands meeting, but as a staff development course that went into the pool of summer class options. I was super duper excited when 21 people signed up (including a lot of middle school teachers). For whatever reason, only 9 showed, and most of them were from my school and knew the drill already. However, all was not lost!

We did all the Dan Meyer stuff, discussed our current practices, the detriments of those current practices and the fact that we just deal with them, motivating the need for standards based grading. Combine that with the awesome power of notebooks and it was a compelling package. And you know what? There were results!

There were a lot of wins:

  • An *elementary* teacher found a way to integrate it into her day, most likely substituting a smiley face scale for 0-5, blew my mind
  • A middle school science teacher loved it so much that she borrowed two of my display notebooks and is taking the whole concept to her team *and* principal for adoption this year
  • I am *this* close to getting it adopted in Geometry at my school next year

Based on this, I don't think it's the last time I will be preseting the subject. The next step is getting this idea into the ears of administrators and more importantly, getting more proof of success in real classrooms. That's how an idea gets legs.

So if you are a devoted SBG fan out there and feel like you might be a crazy person, you aren't alone. If you are passionate about the concept, I highly suggest you get some data to show your administrators and organize meetings for your department or district. It might take a while, but awesome don't lie.

AuthorJonathan Claydon