How and Why Your Grade is Different in This Class

How Your Grade is Different

In this class, your ability to master learning goals dictates your letter grade.  Learning goals are provided in the form of “I can…” statements.  Mastering a learning goal means you understand and can use it to make predictions and solve problems.  A series of assessments provide multiple opportunities to demonstrate how well you understand and apply each learning goal.  Based on assessment performance, feedback is given on your learning progress:

Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 8.57.19 PM

Your overall performance on an individual learning goal is determined by the performance most often demonstrated during the series of assessments over the learning goal, with special consideration provided to more recent performances.  In the following example, the student did not demonstrate mastery of the first learning goal until Assessments 3 and 4, but because those two assessments are a more accurate reflection of current understanding, the overall performance is currently “Mastery”:

Learning Progress Example 1

Your letter grade in this course is based on percent mastery, which is set by the number of learning goals mastered for every goal attempted.  The example below shows a student who mastered 11 of the 14 attempted learning goals, which is 79% mastery and translates to a “B” according to the letter grade table:

Letter Grade Example 1

That’s it.  No hoops to jump through, no rules to negotiate, just master the learning goals and you’ll love the end result.

I sent each student an email (to their school Gmail accounts) with a link to their individual Learning Progress Reports.  Letter grades are updated periodically in PowerSchool, but the detailed progress report is only available using the link.  I ask students to find the email and bookmark their progress reports.  I suggest parents ask their students to share the link so parents can bookmark progress reports as well.

As students, parents, and educators ask important questions about grading practices, I’ll add them to the Grading Practices FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page.

And for those who want to know . . .

Why Your Grade is Different

I want your grade to reflect what you understand and your ability to use these understandings to make predictions and solve problems.  I do not want your grade to reflect your compliance, completion, attendance, practice, preparation, participation, means to purchase Kleenex or dry erase markers, or in the case of awarding extra credit for unused bathroom passes – the fortitude of your bladder.  Most of these things are still recorded (even the bathroom passes) and will help inform an improvement plan if needed, but they do not affect your letter grade.  So please practice, prepare, wonder, investigate, and discuss, because these things help you understand, apply, and problem solve.

My experience, research, and colleagues tell me these grading practices help you succeed and compete more than any I’ve tried before.


  1. kylepearce · September 14, 2015

    Hi Ryan,

    This is really awesome. Love your twist to the Gamified spreadsheet we looked at in July. Do you think you’d be willing to post a link to a generic version that others can copy? I’d like to explore your setup a bit further.

    Thanks for sharing!


    • rbruick · September 14, 2015

      Thanks, Kyle! I plan on sharing, but want to fix the progress visualization and…badges! They’re in the spreadsheet, but I have them hidden until they are 100% functional, at which point I’ll post a copy for all to play with. I’ll let you know when it’s ready.


      • kylepearce · September 14, 2015

        Awesome. Looking forward to it!


  2. Pingback: 030: Standards Based Grading with Ryan Bruick - Better Leaders Better Schools

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