• Standards-Based Grading

    Standards-Based Grading and Reporting

    Overview of Standards-Based Grading Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZt4IHcbD2Q

    What is standards-based grading?

    Standards-based grading reflects a philosophy different from traditional grading, where emphasis is placed on growth, understanding and mastery of skills over time.  Standards-based grading communicates how students perform on a set of clearly defined learning targets called standards. Accurate and meaningful feedback, which promotes academic growth, is provided daily through research-based grading practices across all content areas.

    • Teachers use evidence to report how a student is performing in relation to the standards set forth by the Illinois State Board of Education.
    • Students in grades K-5 receive feedback regarding how they are performing academically as measured against content area standards rather than an overall course grade.
    • Students in grades 6-8 receive feedback on how they are performing academically through a traditional course grade, as well as content standards.
    • It is important to note, standards-based reporting provides students with feedback on how they are performing in relation to a standard, rather than a grade that is derived from accumulating points, averaging across the term, and assigning a letter value.


    At Maercker District 60, we believe the purpose of a grade is to communicate what a student has learned and is able to do, as it relates to the learning standards.

    • In a standards-based grading and reporting system, grades/proficiency levels reflect what a student has learned and is able to do, as defined by the learning standards.
    • Grades/proficiency levels based on learning standards become triggers for action. 
    • Standards-based grading helps teachers plan their instruction to challenge and support all students.
    • Parents gain a better understanding of the academic areas in which their child meets expectations, needs challenge, or needs support.

    What does a standards-based report card mean?

    • A standards-based system aligns instruction, assessment and the reporting of student progress toward mastery of the standard.
    • The K-5 report card contains specific descriptions of the learning expectations and students are evaluated on each standard.
    • Progress is reported through proficiency indicators:
      • Emerging: Student is beginning to, and with extensive support, demonstrate the skills and understand of the standard.
      • Approaching: Student inconsistently, and with regular support, demonstrates the skills and understanding of the standard.
      • Proficient: Student consistently, and with minimal support, demonstrates the skills and understanding of the standard.
    • The 6-8 report card has not changed and grades are reported using a traditional grading method.  A standards report accompanies the report cart and reflect a student’s progress toward mastery of the standards.

    How are “grades” determined?

    A variety of evidence is collected to measure student achievement, including, but not limited to projects, presentations, questioning, assessments, and observations.  When determining a trimester “grade”, the most current credible evidence is used.