Home > sbar > Sun 8/21: SBG, and why nothing different “makes sense”

Sun 8/21: SBG, and why nothing different “makes sense”

I was reading my passel of edu-blogs tonight, and came across this excellent post by Frank Noschese  about the merits of standards-based grading. It reminded me of some of the feedback that I got from my math students last quarter when I introduced SBG to them during my stint as a maternity replacement. There were several objections, which I tried to answer then and will try to answer now because they are bound to come up again:

Student: The way you are averaging is unfair! (Ed. note: I use the “decaying average” that is the default in ActiveGrade)
Wistar: Well, the point is that I want to get the most accurate picture of how you are doing at the end of the semester, not the beginning

Student: I don’t like how your grade can go down if you do worse on an assignment.
Wistar: Well, that’s true, but you also have unlimited opportunities for reassessment if you are unhappy with your grade.

Student: I don’t like how you don’t grade our homework.
Wistar: I want to evaluate your understanding, not your work effort. If you work harder, it will translate into better understanding anyway. And grading homework turns every assignment into a take-home quiz.

Student: (freaking out) I don’t understand! I have a C average now! The world will end! I’ve never had a grade this bad before!
Wistar: You’re just not used to standards-based grading yet. Of course your grade is lower at the beginning — you don’t understand things as well now as you will later. And remember the reassessment?

Ultimately, what it seems to come down to is that a lot of students equate “fair” with “best for me”. (Wow, teenagers taking a self-centered view of the world? I’m shocked that there’s gambling in this casino.) And the ones that don’t are just struggling with something that runs counter to 8-10 years of prior education. After a while, they usually relax and relent.

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