Sigourney school board educated on Standards-Based Grading

Sigourney High math teacher Donita Clarahan explains Standards-Based Grading during a school board meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 11. 

           Members of the Sigourney Teacher Leadership Committee (TLC) and school administration voiced their support for full implementation of a new Standards-Based Grading system for the district at a school board meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 11.

            Standard Based Grading (SBG) was first presented to the previous board a year ago by the TLC and since then have sampled the system in several classrooms in the jr/sr high school. Since then, members of the committee and administration had worked to get the word out about SBG, including an article in the most recent Savage Express about the system and hosting parents at the school for questions.

            “We held a parent meeting with 30 parents in the library,” Principal Shannon Webb said. “We divided into four different sessions that each parent had to attend. They filled out a form how they felt in the beginning then after the meeting. Every single one of them had something positive on their forms, or they felt they knew more now than they did before. It’s going well and we are excited about this.”

            Four of the seven members of the current board were not present for last year’s presentation, and Chuck Moore was not present for the Wednesday meeting. Members of the TLC each presented a topic related to SBG, with Donita Clarahan, a math teacher at Sigourney High, starting off things with the question most commonly asked: what is Standards-Based Grading?

            “[SBG] is a system in which you focus more on the learning,” Clarahan said. “You get kids away from the idea of just accumulating points for a grade and getting them to really think about the material they are learning, how to improve and master that material.”

            Some difference reflected in SBG are that homework is not scored, focusing more on assessments to represent a student’s ability. According to information provided by the TLC, assessment scores based on a score with a zero showing “no attempt”, a one reflecting a need to be retaught the skill, a two representing a partial understanding, three showing proficiency, a three and a half about proficiency, and finally a four displaying mastery of a skill and being able to explain it to others. Reassessments will be available for students who do not display the proficiency they need.

“Students have more than one opportunity to demonstrate a particular skill that is taught in the class,” Clarahan said. “Hopefully that is a huge selling point for student and parents to realize it’s not this one test that you’re going to be assessed on, and you only get that one opportunity to demonstrate that skill. There are options available for students to come back and demonstrate you understand the standards we are teaching the kids.”

Please view the October 11 edition of The News-Review for the full story.