I’ve been following Standards-Based Grading (SBG) for several years now after first being introduced to the concept by colleague John Burk (@occam98). Thanks, John!
I finally made the dive into SBG with my Summer School Algebra 2 class this past June & July, and I’ve fully committed to an SBG pilot for my AP Statistics classes this year.
I found writing standards for Algebra 2 this summer relatively straightforward. I’ve taught that content for decades now and know precisely what I want my students to understand. I needed some practice writing standards and got better as the summer class progressed. Over time, I’ve read several teachers’ versions of standards for various courses. But writing standards for my statistics class prove MUCH more challenging. In the end, I found myself guided by three major philosophies.
- The elegance and challenge of well designed Enduring Understandings from the Understanding by Design (UbD) work of Jay McTighe the late Grant Wiggins helped me craft many of my standards as targets for student learning that didn’t necessarily reveal everything all at once.
- The power of writing student-centered “I can …” statements that I learned through my colleague Jill Gough (@jgough) has become very important in my classroom design. I’ve become much more focused on what I want my students (“learners” in Jill’s parlance) to be able to accomplish and less about what I’m trying to deliver. This recentering of my teaching awareness has been good for my continuing professional development and was a prime motivator in writing these Standards.
- I struggled throughout the creation of my first AP Statistics standards document to find a balance between too few very broad high-level conceptual claims and a far-too-granular long list of skill minutiae. I wanted more than a narrow checklist of tiny skills and less than overloaded individual standards that are difficult for students to satisfy. I want a challenging, but reachable bar.
So, following is my first attempt at Standards for my AP Statistics class, and I’ll be using them this year. In sharing this, I have two hopes:
- Maybe some teacher out there might find some use in my Standards.
- More importantly, I’d LOVE some feedback from anyone on this work. It feels much too long to me, but I wonder if it is really too much or too little. Have I left something out?
At some point, all work needs a public airing to improve. That time for me is now. Thank you in advance on behalf of my students for any feedback.