Last summer I worked to rewrite learning outcomes of Biology 12 into “I can” standards and move away from point collection. I wanted to have student friendly language that described what the student should be able to do by the end of the course. I say by the end of the course, as all standards are in play all semester and students may demonstrate mastery of standards at anytime.
I divided the standards into core (students need to show mastery in all these for B range) and advanced (into the A range). I decided on this division based on what students have struggled with in the past. When we cycle back (as I do several times throughout the course of the semester), some students have breakthroughs and are able to put it all together in a flash.
We established 4 levels for the standards: Mastery, Progressing, Starting, and No Evidence.
I then gave all the standards to students in a duo-tang so they could track their progress throughout the semester.
Students used highlighters to track themselves (red=stop, yellow=caution, green=go) and the duotangs were the catalyst for our “hot seat” conversations as a student headed into an assessment.
Example of standards for cell biology unit:
A1. I can recognize and explain the function of each organelle. I can relate the role of the organelle to parts of the body.
A2. I can look at micrographs and diagrams of organelles and correctly id them.
A3. I can write, work with and explain the balanced chemical equation for cellular respiration.
A4. I can explain how organelles function to compartmentalize the cell and move proteins and lipids through the cell.
What worked well:
1. Students used standards to have conversations with each other.
2. Students could ask for help in specific areas.
3. Students have a strong awareness of where their weaknesses and strengths lie.
4. Students focused on what they could do rather than on their mark.
What I want to improve:
1. How to do justice to the standards and generate a meaningful percentage.
2. Standards are still too “raw” and obvious, which leads to students consuming content in bite size pieces rather than knitting it together into something of more depth, interest and meaning.
3. Find a way to use standards to communicate with parents in a meaningful manner.
4. Let go of more of the trivia of the course and replace with enduring understandings.
5. Increase my confidence when working with SBG. I still was shaky on how exactly it was going to work; students DO NOT like that.
Note: My work on Standard Based Grading is modified, blended and adapted from @kellyoshea, @samevns, @bennettscience and @mrsebiology and I thank them for their diligence in documenting and sharing their work.