Standards-Based Scoring




In my classes the purpose of a grade is to communicate learning and ability with students and parents. ‘Standards-Based Scoring’ has better potential to communicate student learning than traditional grading systems.

Traditional grading practices have trained the students (and parents) to focus on a percentage, point grabbing, extra credit, and “playing the system” or “playing school”.  This goes against the purpose of education!  Rather than being about the learning, the common question from students became “What do I need to do to get an ‘A’ for a grade?”

Standards-based grading however, focuses students on the learning rather than just the grade. They are able to answer for themselves the questions of what they know and can do with their knowledge and what they have “not yet” mastered.

What are “Standards”?

What I teach in my classes has been divided into a number of learning objectives or “standards” that are aligned with the state curricula which you can view here:   German (World Languages)    |   Health Standards  (Health Essential Questions). These standards, generally stated, are the things that a student should know or be able to do by the end of a unit or course.

It is my goal to communicate with students and parents the levels (or depth) at which students have mastered these standards. In the education community this is referred to as “Depth of Knowledge” a concept coined by Norman Webb.

Because there is a concrete answer for DOK levels 1 and 2, in Skyward I show student mastery at these levels using a “1” (mastered) or “0” not YET mastered. (explained more below)


For deeper learning (DOK levels 3 and 4), this is communicated on a 4 point scale:  (not to be confused with DOK levels 1-4)

It is important to keep in mind that anytime a student learns a new skill, they start out at Level 1.

The progression often looks like this:


What this looks like in my classes…


DOK LevelDescriptionSkyward ScoringHow it is Assessed
1Basic Recall
Memorized Information
"1" = Student has shown proficiency
"0" = Student has not yet shown proficiency
Vocabulary Quizzes
2Basic Application:
Student speaks in sentences using memorized patterns and phrases.
"1" = Student has shown proficiency
"0" = Student has not yet shown proficiency
"Stamp Sheets"
Concept Quizzes
3Application Level:
"Created" or non-memorized sentences.
Real conversation.
4 Point Scale:
1: Below Expectations
2: Approaching Expectations
3: Meets Expectations
4: Exceeds Expectations
Spoken or written assessments within an authentic situation.
4Extended Thinking:
Sharing opinions with justification.
We do not reach level 4 with our language production in beginning German classes. Some written assessments and discussions about the culture of German-speaking countries.