Standards Based Grading

Click here to see our presentation from our workshop on standards based grading on September 9, 2015.


What Is Standards-Based Grading?

Standards-based grading, sometimes called proficiency grading, is a method for teachers to measure how students are doing in meeting the learning goals for their grade as determined by their state’s standards. Learning goals, sometimes called learning standards, are the academic skills your child should know or be able to do for his grade level by the end of the school year.

Standards-based report cards give a grade for each learning goal, so students receive multiple grades in each subject area. In 4th grade math, for example, you’ll see the subject broken into several categories, such as operations/algebraic thinking and fractions. Under each category, you’ll see a list of math skills your child should be able to do, as well as a grade showing how your child is doing.

How Standards-Based Grades Differ From Traditional Letter Grades

Providing grades for academic proficiency and work habits gives parents more information about the areas in which their child needs to improve than the traditional letter grading system. The traditional grading system combines many elements—test scores, quizzes, completed homework, classroom participation, coming to school on time, extra credit—and averages the semester’s work into a percentage that correlates with a letter grade.

For example: “One student might bring home a B because she did all the work, turned in all her homework, and participated in class but didn’t quite understand the concepts. Another student might bring home a B because he aced all the tests and quizzes but didn’t participate in class,” he says. “Each student earns the same grade but for very different reasons, and the grade doesn’t tell parents very much about what the student knows.”

How Do You Know How Your Child Is Doing?

The number of categories on a standards-based report card can make your head spin. To help parents understand them, Boulware will provide workshops and conferences with parents to help understand them. There is also information here on the website. Because schools vary, don’t be afraid to ask your child’s teacher or Kay/Megan to explain the grading and how your school defines behavior.

At Boulware, we use the traditional 0-4 scale to report progress according to the following scale:

SBG scale







At Boulware we use Common Core Standards for Language Arts and Math. We use Florida State Standards for all other subjects. Below are links to websites where you can view the standards for each grade and subject:

Common Core Standards

Florida State Standards

These are the same standards that you will see listed on your child’s progress report at the end of each term. The standards that were covered and assessed that term will be listed under their subject and a score