Standards-referenced grading takes a step forward

Lizzy Kunze, Rampage Staff Reporter

Standards-referenced grading is a new movement  being used in some classes this year that measures students’ progress toward meeting standards.

Instead of using a traditional 100 point scale, the new system uses a 1 to 4 scale.

Chemistry and earth science classes have been using the new grading system.

Science teacher Jed Dettmering, who teaches chemistry, advanced chemistry, and AP Chemistry has switched grading systems.

“It’s not a ‘points’ system where if you miss a question you lose a point. Instead, the teacher places a value or score on your understanding of the standard.  This allows students to make small, simple mistakes on assessments without having a negative impact on their grades,” said Dettmering.

He sees the benefits of the new system.

“It is a much more comprehensive and holistic approach to assessing students over a period of time with several assessments or bodies of evidence rather than several compliance-based homework assignments and a high stakes test at the end of the unit,” said Dettmering.  Some students aren’t comfortable with the idea of switching up the norms of grading. Junior Nathan Gladwyn-Nash disagrees with the new grading system.

“I don’t like it because it’s different from what I’ve had growing up,” said Gladwyn-Nash.

According to the Southeast Polk website, student grades are now “a reflection of the learning that occurred as applied to a scale of proficiency, based on the standard.”

“As with anything new it takes a little while to understand the change that is made or the impact it will have on student achievement.  I believe in several years if we look back on the work we did and why we did it, we will be happy about the changes and progress made in student grades,” Dettmering said.

He believes the new system will be a postivie shift.

“As with any change that a teacher makes, the heart of the decision always comes back to helping students become more successful in life, and I think this is one change in the right direction,” said Dettmering.