Learning Based Grading

Since 2011, the Professional Learning Community (PLC) process has guided our instructional planning and assessment through four questions: 1) What do students need to know and be able to do as a result of each course? 2) How will we know if they’ve learned? 3) How will we respond when they don’t learn? 4) How will we respond when they do learn? As we engaged in this work,  it became clear that we needed to shift how we assess and report student learning in order to positively impact student learning as intended by the PLC process. This shift is our transition to Learning Based Grading.

What is Learning Based Grading?
Learning Based Grading means that we clearly communicate what students need to know and be able to do throughout the learning process, that we provide specific and descriptive feedback using proficiency levels (see glossary), and that we provide multiple opportunities for students to show what they know and can do.

Are all teachers using Learning Based Grading?
Most teachers are; however, Hawkeye Community College concurrent courses, 9-12 Science courses, and almost all 10-12 Social Studies courses are not yet implementing Learning-Based Grading due to the recent roll-out of new standards. Expect full implementation in the very near future.

What changes come with Learning Based Grading?
The bulk of change occurs inside the classroom, in the day to day cycle of high quality instruction and assessment. See “A Shift in Use of Assessments” here to get a sense of  the types of classroom level changes we have been implementing over the past several years to better empower student reflection and maximize learning.

What won’t change with Learning Based Grading?
Report cards will contain letter grades at the end of grading terms.
GPA will be calculated.
Colleges will 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, who should be able to identify the essentials being studied as well as individual strengths and areas for growth. In fact, many teachers are having students monitor their progress using a tracking sheet. If questions remain, please include your student’s teacher(s). We are committed to frequent and targeted communication in an effort to maximize learning for each student. Please look for additional letters and videos throughout the year.

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