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Standards-Based Grading

Understanding My Child's Report Card


Owingsville Elementary School uses a grading system known as "Standards-Based Grading".

In the Standards-Based Grading system, both students and parents are aware of clear learning outcomes and the pace for expected mastery of each grade level target.

Grades on traditional report cards often reflected a combination of academic progress, work habits, and participation. Standards-Based Grading solely reflects progress on priority topic targets.

The grade-level target for each learning standard is a 3. When a 3 is earned, the student has met the grade-level expectations for that topic. While some topics have expectations for mastery early in the year, many of the topics do not have mastery expectations until the end of the school year.

Levels 1 through 4 should not be equated to the A-F grading scale. For example, a 3, or “meets grade-level standard,” isn’t the same as a B. It is normal for students to advance from a 1 to a 3 as they develop greater proficiency of the standard. A student who achieves a level 3 on all topics on the report card by the end of the year has mastered all grade-level expectations. You will likely see more 1's early in the year and 3's later reflecting the necessary progression and mastery level of the skills.

This is especially evident in language arts and math. In science and social studies, most topics are addressed completely within a grading period. 

Level 4 should not be equated with an “A.” When a child achieves level 3, they have met the expected grade-level standards. In Level 4 a student demonstrates understanding and performance beyond expected proficiency and has exceeded the standards.  Level 4s are challenging and achieved less frequently.


Click here to see the OES Grading Policy.





How Does Standards-Based Grading Differ From Traditional Grading?

With the traditional grading system, many elements are combined to determine your child’s grade – test scores, quizzes, completed homework, classroom participation, coming to school on time, extra credit – then, the average of the semester’s work equates to a percentage that correlates with a specific letter grade. 

Standards-Based Grading separates those elements. And while we believe all should be addressed, now parents will be able to see specifically if their child needs help with an academic concept or if he or she can’t remember to turn in homework. 

Standards-Based Grading measures a student’s mastery of grade-level standards by prioritizing the most recent, consistent level of performance. 


The Benefits of Standards-Based Grading

For Students:

  • Learning targets are clearly defined and aligned with state standards.

  • Students are offered multiple opportunities and ways through which to demonstrate proficiency

  • Students monitor their own progress toward the achievement of specified targets

  • Specific feedback on progress helps build self-esteem, pride, and motivation for students

For Parents:

  • Report card grades are less mysterious and have more meaning

  • Parents are aware of exactly what their child knows, is able to do, and next steps for progress

  • Parents know in what areas their child needs more support

  • Parents are empowered to increase their child's confidence and help their student set goals

For Teachers:

  • Teachers know exactly where students stand in their progress toward learning targets and what support needs to be provided

  • Teachers of the same courses have aligned expectations and standards

  • Assessment results help teachers determine when students need extra help and when they need more challenging work


This student-friendly guide may help in best understanding the number scale in Standards-Based Grading at OES: