What is Standards Based Learning?

SBL communicates how students are performing on clearly defined objectives called power standards.  The purpose of SBL is to identify what a student knows or is able to do in connection to a standard.  At the quarterly reporting period, students will be identified as beginning, developing, secure, and exceeding in relation to academic performance, and this identification will be based on multiple pieces of evidence.

How is Standards Based Learning Different Than Traditional Letter Grades?

Letter grades do not communicate what skills students have mastered.  For example, when a student receives a B in math, the letter grade does not specify which math skills have been mastered and which skills continue to need reteaching and relearning.  Standards based learning documents will break each content area into specific power standards that students are expected to know by the end of the year.  If students are not secure with a learning target after a unit, they will be given more opportunities to continue to practice the skill, and they will be provided opportunities to demonstrate mastery; therefore, you may see the level of mastery relating to a specific learning target change throughout the school year.

What are the benefits of SBL?

  • Students will be able to explain what they learned or did not learn rather than focusing on an arbitrary letter grade
  • SBL benefits all learners with opportunities for remediation and enrichment
  • SBL shifts focus from earning points to learning
  • Students are inclined to take more risks when the pressure of letters grades is taken away
  • Parent and student feedback is specific in all content areas
  • Grades are not averaged; therefore, students are not penalized for low scores that may occur at the beginning of units.  Rather teachers look at a body of evidence, with emphasis on the most recent data, to report on each standard
  • SBL creates a higher level of consistency and continuity in assessment among teachers
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