Learning Based Grading

At CFCSD, the Professional Learning Community (PLC) process guides our instructional planning and assessment through these four questions:

1. What is it we want students to know and be able to do (essential learnings)?
Teams have determined course essential learnings aligned with Iowa Core standards to ensure clarity of intended learning.

2. How will we know if they know it?
When teams focus on this question, they determine what student evidence will demonstrate each essential learning, what levels of proficiency look like, and what assessments will produce evidence of learning. The cycle of assessment and instruction--including proficiency levels-- is ongoing and regularly communicated to students and parents.

3. How will we respond if they don't?
This question moves teams to consider what they will do when students experience difficulty in their learning: interventions such as additional instruction or the use of Tiger Time/Power Hour.

4. What will we do when they do?
Here, teams consider possibilities for stretching, enhancing, and possibly enriching student learning (see proficiency level 4).

It is our work with question two that revealed the need for a conceptual shift in the way we assess and report student learning. That shift is movement to Learning Based Grading.

What is Learning Based Grading?
Learning Based Grading means that we are clear in our communication throughout the learning process, that we assess student work using proficiency levels (see below for an example), that we encourage ongoing assessment including retakes as necessary, and that we adjust our report cards and PowerSchool accordingly.

Are all teachers using Learning Based Grading?
We are striving toward total implementation, but we are not yet there. The movement is growing, and this letter is being sent to all secondary parents/guardians because it is likely that your student is in at least one course implementing components of Learning Based Grading.

What changes come with Learning Based Grading?
The bulk of change occurs inside the classroom, in the day-to-day cycle of instruction and assessment. Clarity here empowers students' reflection and maximizes their learning. Changes you'll see include:
• PowerSchool may look different. Early in the learning process, you may see fewer items "graded" as students learn and revise.
• The final report card will look different. You'll see that your student's report card will show course essential learnings nestled under strands, each containing a body of evidence in the form of proficiency levels (1-4 ).

What won't change with Learning Based Grading?
• Students will continue to experience high quality instruction and receive frequent feedback regarding their learning.
• PowerSchool will be updated regularly.
• Report cards will still contain letter grades at the end of grading terms.
• GPA will still be calculated.
• Colleges will still receive transcripts containing the information they seek for admission and scholarships.

What should I do if I have or my student has questions?
We recommend that the first conversation is with your student(s). As your family begins to shape an understanding of Learning Based Grading, please then include your student's teachers. We are eager to share our excitement in and commitment to Learning Based Grading in contributing to maximizing learning for each student.

Learning Based Grading FAQ.pdf