Casco Bay High School in Portland has developed a strong standards-based grading system built upon several principles (below). It seems to me that it would be a good exercise for any and all schools to be able to identify the principles that drive their grading, reporting, and extra support/extra time policies. Can you imagine trying to do that for A-F, time-based systems?
Principle: Grades should clearly communicate what students know and are able to do in each class.
Practice: We report on student mastery of specific skills and concepts within a course (called “course standards”); traits like participation and effort are reported on separately.
Principle: Students should have multiple opportunities to show what they know and can do.
Practice: We ask students to build a body of work to demonstrate their mastery of each course standard.
Principle: Schools should support students in acquiring all of the essential knowledge and skills in a course versus just a portion of it.
Practice: To earn credit, all of the course standards must be met.
Principle: Academic knowledge and work habits are both important to acquire for college and life.
Practice: Students receive both academic grades (based on course standards) as well as habits of work (HOW) grades for each class.
Principle: If students are working hard (as shown by their HOW grade) to meet standards, they deserve more time and support to learn the material.
Practice: Students receive additional time after the term has ended to meet course standards if they have a “3” or above in Habits of Work.
Principle: All students should have the opportunity to excel.
Practice: Achieving “with Honors” is an option for all students in all courses.
Principle: Regular communication with families about student progress supports deeper learning.
Practice: We formally report progress ten times a year through report cards, progress reports, and conferences. Infinite Campus, our online grade book, is updated frequently by teachers and is always open to parents.
Principle: Learning cannot be averaged: students need time to practice and learn from mistakes.
Practice: We determine trimester grades based on trends, and take more recent performance into account. Trimester grades reflect a student’s current level of achievement.