- On twitter, Russ Goerend asked Shawn, Matt, and me (and any other takers) to try to define standards-based grading in one tweet.
- Kate Nowak drops this on us for Riley's Virtual Conference on Soft Skills.
Standards-based grading is built on trust.
Your students must trust you. The number one question I and others get is wondering if students will still do homework or other classwork if it's not worth points. I can answer with 100% certainty the answer is yes. Yes they'll do whatever you ask them to do, but only if your students trust you. They're trusting that what you're giving them will help them reach their goal. It's not busy work. It's not assigned out of habit. It's meaningful and will help them get from A to B. They will do it because they believe it will help them learn. They must trust that you are helping them get there.
You must trust your students. Allow them to surprise you. Give them freedom. Allow them to fail but allow them to learn from those failures. If you don't trust your students, they will fail. If you believe they won't do it if you don't make it worth points, then they won't do it. Trust your students.
You must trust yourself. Deep in your heart, you've got to trust that what you're giving them will help them learn. Everything you do is to help them learn. If you don't believe that, they're not going to believe it either. You need to trust yourself because the first day of school you're going to give a speech like this:
Hi. My name is Mr. Buell. You're used to being told what to do. You're used to getting something for doing, rather than learning. You're used to being rewarded for compliance, rather than creativity. Get used to something different. I will make suggestions to help you learn. You may choose to take those and in fact, I recommend that you take them. But only you know who are truly are and how you learn best. And hopefully, by the end of the year, you will know yourself a little better.
It's scary. Points are a shield. When you take away that shield all you're left with is the trust you have in yourself that you're doing what's right.
Go ahead and build your topics and design your assessments. Do all the manual work that needs to be done; but always remember, that it's all built on trust. That work comes first and foremost. Start with a strong foundation and build something that lasts.
Trust each other. Trust yourself.
The last word comes from a series of tweets by @PersidaB that I'm putting together:
Before you can do SBG, I believe you need a transformation in the classroom. Where what you ask them to do becomes an opportunity to learn rather than another piece of paper to "complete". It's a shift in purpose and philosophy. And requires teacher and student training to shift thinking in purpose of why they're in the classroom.
Edit: Ok, now Frank gets the last word. Fantastic post by one of the SBG Borg: http://fnoschese.wordpress.com/2010/07/13/sbg_and_trust