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Grading Explained

Grading Policies Explained-8th Grade Silver Math

What is Standards-Based Grading?

Standards-based grading is used in this math class to measure student learning.  This way of grading breaks down units of study into smaller measurable learning targets. Each learning target is a concept that a student should master by the end of a unit. For example, in Unit 1 (Rigid Transformations and Congruence) there are seven concepts that each student should be able to perform proficiently by the unit’s end. An example of a learning target from Unit 1 is “I can decide visually whether or not two figures are congruent.” Each lesson, quiz, and test will focus on these specific and measurable learning targets rather than an overall percentage score. 


Why Standards-Based Grading?

  • Grades have more meaning: Traditional grading focuses on one general percentage score based on the number of points earned on an assignment.  In standards-based grading, students know the exact skill being assessed for every assignment and their score accurately reflects the student’s ability to perform that skill. I can clearly communicate with a student why they did poorly on a previous assignment and give them another chance to work towards gaining mastery of the material.

  • It helps the teacher adjust instruction: I will be better able to spot trends in the skills that many students are struggling with or have already mastered. This means that we can devote instructional time to only the topics that students need practice.

  • Promote a growth mindset: Students can practice their mastery of standards without the penalty of receiving a poor grade in the grade book. They are able to focus their attention on topics they struggled to understand and the option for reassessment. Through re-teaching and reassessment, students are able to see that intelligence is not set in stone and they are always able to grow.

How Do I Check My Student's Grade?

Infinite Campus is where you will be able to look at your child's grades and progress. It is a grade tracking website after learning checks, tests, and projects have been given and scored. Infinite Campus will show you final grades, but will not inform of assignments before they are due. If you are having trouble logging in, see the guidance office or contact me and I will connect you to guidance. Also, in Infinite Campus you will see skill grades instead of overall test scores. A table explaining what each score (3,2,1) means is below.


Mastery Level

How this Level Describes You



Full Mastery: I fully understand this concept and could even help tutor someone else in my class instead of needing more practice myself. If I were to take a test over this concept, I would easily score an A by answering all the questions correctly and fully explaining my work.



Partial Mastery: I understand some parts of this concept but there are still several details I don’t understand. With just a little more time and effort I will be able to master this concept and do well on a test. Right now, I would probably score about C on a test.



Limited Understanding: I don’t really understand this concept and need a lot more time to learn and practice. If I were to take a test over this concept, I would not pass with an A, B or C.


The only assignment that will be recorded as a grade that will be on their report card is their unit test scores. The homework assignments and learning checks will be in Infinite Campus, but will not contribute to their overall average on their report card. There are usually about two to three test scores that are averaged together for each quarter grade. 


We do use a hybrid of standards based grading and traditional percentage scores. While unit test scores are out of 100 points (this percentage is recorded in Infinite Campus) I do break tests into smaller sections based on learning targets/skills that should be mastered at the completion of the unit. That is where the standards based approach comes into play. Students will have a chance to analyze their tests the next class period so that they can correct skills that weren’t mastered instead of only focusing on one numerical score. Learning Targets are stressed everyday at the beginning of class. Students should always know what skill they are working to master in class on any given day. 


Test Retakes

I encourage all students to retake any parts of a test that are not mastered. I want all students to master all concepts even if it takes extra time after the test to learn the material. The student wins because of a higher grade and I win because he/she learned the skills. Below are my rules for retakes:

  1. Students must go back to the original test and using a separate sheet of paper, explain their mistakes using one sentence and then correctly work the missed problems showing all math work.

  2. The student may retake the portion of the test that was directly tied to the weak skill or skills and does not have to take the entire test over. 

  3. The second score is the one that is kept.

  4. The test the second time around will be short answer, no multiple choice on the second try.


Grading Breakdown

As stated above, only students' test scores will be recorded for a grade. However, there will be an additional section in Infinite Campus to track more frequent progress. This section will show that it is "Not Included in Grade Calculation." It will be where you can monitor your student's progress throughout the unit on each overall math content standard. There will be an "assignment" representing each standard in any given unit and will have a brief description of the topic or skill required for mastery. Whenever there is any work done in class that covers a particular standard, I will input a mastery score (3, 2, or 1) to indicate how well the student can show their knowledge of that skill at that point in the unit. This grade will change as new assignments are completed for each standard.


Homework Policy

There will be a handful of homework problems assigned to students a couple nights a week. These problems will come directly from the day’s lesson and help to develop their skills on the corresponding learning target. Homework will not be formally graded. However, I will record the effort students put forth on their homework based on the three-point scale above. Families may contact me at any time to discuss their child’s homework participation. This is a good way to keep track of how much a student has practiced outside of class, which often corresponds with quiz and test scores.