Dear Parents and Students,
We are excited to share some details with you about our new grading system at Woodland Park High School. We believe parents are partners in the learning process and are eager to have you join us in learning about this philosophy. With any change, there are apprehensions, fears and new skills needed to navigate the change well. We are committed to helping your student understand the concepts and develop the necessary skills to thrive in this system. We are confident you will see the benefit to students as they build their habits of success and prepare for life after high school.
We have many reasons for the changes, and we encourage you to attend one of the meetings with the principal, Kevin Burr, in the months ahead to learn more:
All teachers and professionals at WPHS commit to the following core values and when we have decisions to make regarding practice, we will always look back at our core values to ensure consistency:
Common Questions about Standards-Based Grading:
What does this change have to do with the new State of Colorado graduation requirements?
Starting with the class of 2021, students must prove proficiency in math and reading. Scores on standardized tests (like the SAT) are one way a student can show career and post-secondary readiness. See the complete menu of options here. Students must have a high level of knowledge and skills and shifting our evaluation system to give them specific feedback to help them improve is critical to their success.
How will grades look on transcripts?
A-C grades and GPA point weight will be reported on transcripts the same as they have been for years. Because we are now requiring a level of proficiency and we believe that all students can obtain the skills necessary, D’s and F’s will be recorded as “Not Yet/NY” this means a student needs to keep working on skills and perhaps she attends summer school to gain the missing knowledge and skills to reach the minimum C grade.
What do blanks in the gradebook mean?
Blanks are normal and common. Not everyone will demonstrate learning in the same way and there will be options. A blank does nothing to help or hurt a student’s score.
What do M’s in the gradebook mean?
This is an important demonstration of learning and a student must get this finished and turned in (or complete the make up test/presentation, etc). M’s calculate as a 0 into the grade because we have no learning demonstrated and can impact eligibility for athletics and activities.
How will my student know what to do to earn a higher grade?
Teachers have created proficiency scales (see below for an example) of all the skills a student needs to have and be able to do. These scales show learning on a level 1-4. The target goal of a 3 is clearly articulated and available for students to see throughout the course. Students will be evaluating themselves against the standard throughout the course.
How will allowing for retakes and re-doing assignments help my student become ready for life in the real world where there are deadlines?
Learning is a process, and many students need to struggle and work through difficult concepts multiple times until they understand. A good analogy that requires students to learn and practice skills to become proficient is a driver’s license test. These tests can be taken multiple times, however, there is always a cost of time and resources to test again. With retakes, all teachers will require additional learning to be completed before retesting- this might be showing all of the homework, taking additional notes, attending a study session, etc. The goal is to demonstrate the knowledge or the skill and students are not penalized in their grades for not knowing by a deadline.
How can we hold students accountable?
Do deadlines ever matter?
Yes. Rather than penalizing a student’s grade, we will be requiring timeliness in other ways. For instance, to participate in extracurricular activities and athletics, students will need to show that they are actively engaged in learning through keeping up with assignments. To participate in dances and field trips, forms and fees will need to be turned in on time. See the Athletics and Activities Eligibility Matrix at the bottom of this document for more information.
Why is homework not usually graded?
Homework is preparation or skills reinforcement to understand a concept. Just like many colleges or workplaces don’t require you to show what you did to learn a new skill or prepare for a big presentation, SBG focuses on students finding their internal motivation to do what it takes to learn rather than the minimum a teacher asks of them. Because we have different strengths and weaknesses, what it takes to really learn a concept will be different for each person.
Why are not all WPHS teachers on Standards Based Grading?
By next year, they will be. To grade on standards, clear standards need to be created and expressed in a scale so students know how to earn the score they desire. It takes significant time to create standards for each class. We focused on building scales for the core classes last year, and now are building scales for electives.
Where can I go to learn more about SBG?
You know more than you think about SBG. It is the system many parents use as they teach various skills at home and what employers use to train interns and employees to do their jobs well. Learning new skills takes time and many small lessons along the way.
Article: What is Standards-Based Grading?
3 min. Video:What is standards-based grading?
Athletics & Activities ELIGIBILITY MATRIX
A STUDENT WITH TWO CLASSES CONSIDERED “Not Yet” WILL BE INELIGIBLE FROM TUESDAY TO MONDAY (7 DAYS)
1 - A “NOT YET” WITH 3 OR MORE MISSING ASSIGNMENTS 1ST QUARTER/5 OR MORE 2ND QUARTER WILL BE CONSIDERED BELOW THE CHSAA STANDARD TO PARTICIPATE
2 - IF THE OVERALL COURSE SCORE IS HIGHER THAN A 2.0, IT OVERRIDES THE MISSING ASSIGNMENTS AND THE STUDENT MAY PARTICIPATE
A “NOT YET” IN A TRADITIONAL GRADING CLASS WILL BE CONSIDERED BELOW THE CHSAA STANDARD TO PARTICIPATE
STUDENTS WHO ARE OFF TRACK AND BELOW A 70% WILL BE CONSIDERED BELOW THE CHSAA STANDARD TO PARTICIPATE
STUDENTS MARKED AS RED WILL BE CONSIDERED BELOW THE CHSAA STANDARD TO PARTICIPATE