I gave my kids a google form to fill out with their thoughts on Standards Based Grading this year in calculus. My instinct is to interpret them for you before presenting them, but I’ll hold off. For context, I teach at an independent school where most kids are motivated to do well, partly because of internal motivation and partly because of grades for college. I teach the non-AP calculus course, which means I get a wide variety of students… from those who really really don’t like math but feel they need calculus on their transcripts to those who kinda like math (and maybe a few who really like math, but those are the exception). My calculus classes have on average 12 students in them. The students at my school do learn to speak up for themselves, so I think for the most part, the comments are probably fairly accurate representations of what they are thinking.
First, I asked what they felt about the grading system after the 1st quarter, and after the 3rd quarter. Then I asked about what they took away from it.
Then I asked for some numerical information on: how the grading philosophy worked, and if they collaborated outside of class more or less than other math classes. (Promoting a culture where I am not the sole authority in the classroom — and outside of the classroom — was important for me.)
Finally I asked for what they had to do differently in this class than in others, whether they think they would have done similarly if they had a traditional grading system, and what they think I should keep and what I should change.
And for some basic stats…
In the first quarter, I wrote 64 reassessments
In the second quarter, I wrote 54 reassessments
In the third quarter, I wrote 55 reassessments
In the fourth quarter, I wrote 40 reassessments
… and compared to last year, things went so so so much more smoothly logistically. Writing the reassessments didn’t take as long, I felt the work I was putting in was paying off.
In any case, I could analyze things, but I’ve already done that in my mind. My conclusion: although not perfect, this was a wildly successful year for Standards Based Grading in calculus.
PS. As I always say to the students on the disciplinary committee I run, “we do the best we can with what we have, and then we move on.”