Saturday, January 17, 2015

Presentation on Standards Based Grading to HPU Faculty

It was a pleasure to speak to friends and colleagues at High Point University (HPU) about Standards Based Grading (SBG) on Feb 15, 2015. It was the inaugural presentation for the newly established Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning at HPU.

My presentation was hugely influenced by Frank Noschese's 2014 AAPT presentation. I used some of his slides. Other influences are: Shawn Cornally, Josh Gates, and ActiveGrade.

Statement on Syllabi

Here is the statement that I include on my syllabi regarding SBG in general.

In this course, I want to encourage you to be a life-long learner. This requires that you develop a growth mindset. In other words, I want you to be driven by answering interesting questions, making reasoned arguments, and developing new skills and knowledge independent of grades and test scores. As a result, I will use a grading system called Standards-Based Grading (SBG) which determines grades based on your demonstration of skills and knowledge at the end of the semester and does not penalize you for not having those skills and knowledge at the beginning of the semester. In my opinion, SBG incentivizes growth instead of performance. 
Instead of getting numbers, or letters, on assignments and exams that average into a final grade for the course, there are a set of standards on which you are expected to show improvement throughout the semester. Each assignment assesses some subset of these standards, and on each standard, you will receive a number from zero (“does not demonstrate the standard”) to 4 (“demonstrates sufficient mastery of the standard”). Each standard will be assessed multiple times in multiple assignments. The most recent assessment will replace scores on previous assessments. In this way, as you improve, early poor scores will not significantly impact your grade.
Table 1 lists the standards that will be assessed in this course. Each of these standards is tied directly to the learning outcomes. Every assignment (and many course activities) will provide an opportunity to demonstrate certain skills and thereby fulfill certain standards. 

Each syllabus lists standards and the grading algorithm. The standards and the grading algorithm depend on the course.

First Year Seminar (Fall 2014) on SETI


Grade Computation

(Advanced) Classical Mechanics (Fall 2014)


Grade Computation

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