By Claire Solberg
Standards-based grading, a grading scale from one to four, is hurting our students overall. Standards-based grading is a new form of grading that is based on a scale from one to four, one being that you knew none of the stuff and four being that you exceeded expectations. This new way of grading could be detrimental to students. Using standards-based grading, students must do extra work just to get an A in that class and most of the time getting a four is not an option. This modern style of grading is meant to deepen the students’ understanding of the topic, but instead it puts more pressure on a student to get all the questions right and to master every topic.
With a traditional style of grading, teachers use a grading scale from 0%-100%. This is a fairer style of grading because it allows more room for growth in a student’s grade. This way of grading does not let one bad grade affect a student’s grade as much as standards. If you looked at a student’s grades and one class, using standards and the second class using a traditional style of grading, the chances are the student would have a better grade in the second class, this is because standards-based grading is not made to help the student learn. The grading scale one, two, three, and four is too small and does not show improvement. It shows kids that they will never be good enough.
Some classes work better for standards than others. In English classes, in order to get an four you have to write 1,000 more words than the assignment requires. Every teacher uses standards differently as well; on tests some teachers have different level questions getting harder as the number increases and other teachers have two different tests, one to get a four and one to get a three. And, in a classroom where tests are worth more than homework students are forced to take harder tests and get all the questions right just to get a good grade. The B that most students get does not reflect well on the work they put into school, and it is just bringing down the grade point average.
Standards-based grading is affecting students’ mental health as well because poor grades lead to not getting into the college they want to go to, and it is preventing them from getting the jobs they want. Test anxiety is also rising because of standards because every answer is worth more points and when a student is anxious about a test, they are more likely to get the questions wrong. Standards-based grading is also not used the same between all teachers so students have to guess how their teacher is going to implement standards in their classrooms.
Some people do think that standards are a good and fair way to grade students’ work because it is easier to pull up from 30% to 90% but it is still not easy. It is too hard for a student to get an A in classes that use standards. They also say that it follows a more accurate assessment of student progression. And I do agree that the traditional way of grading is still not perfect, standards is worse.
So, standards-based grading is hurting not helping students overall. Because students have a much harder time getting a good grade in any of their classes to the point where it is affecting their mental health. Standards uses a grading scale from one to four and makes it a lot easier to get a bad grade.
In conclusion, teachers should use a traditional style of grading rather than standards.
Claire Solberg is a student at Spring Grove High School. She is one of 17 area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 24th year.