Standards-based learning

What is Standards-based learning?

Standards-based learning assesses and reports a student’s performance based on specific learning standards or objectives.

Instead of receiving a traditional letter grade like an “A” or “B,” a student’s performance is measured against individual standards or skills. These standards align with what the student is expected to learn in their grade or course.

Standards-based learning FAQ

Standards are statements about what students should know and be able to do at each grade level. Standards-based learning is an approach to student learning and assessment in which the proficiency of skills over time determines a grade rather than the total collection of points. This system is research-based and develops grit and perseverance in our students. 

Here is a comprehensive list of articles and books from prominent educational researchers.

Standards-based learning aims to clearly communicate students’ progress toward learning outcomes in a timely, accurate, fair, and specific manner.  The influence of work habits on student learning is reported separately from their academic achievements.

Standards-based learning aligns with clear and specific learning objectives or standards, eliminating ambiguity in educational goals. It focuses solely on a student’s proficiency in specific learning goals, providing a more accurate representation of their knowledge.

Standards-based learning also allows for more personalized instruction and makes it easier for parents and students to understand their academic strengths and areas needing improvement. Likewise, in an increasingly competitive educational landscape and job market, standards-based learning helps ensure students have a strong foundation of essential skills and knowledge. 

Traditional grading consists of accumulating points on tests and assignments, behaviors, and homework completion. Traditional grading relies on averaging points to generate a final grade and does not report specific learning outcomes. In standards-based learning, students receive feedback on their progress on specific learning outcomes (i.e., standards), and the most recent evidence of learning determines the final grade instead of an average. 

Behavior and completion of homework are not factored into their academic grade. The influence of positive and consistent work habits on student learning is reported separately from the academics.

In High School, students will receive a letter grade and GPA on their transcript.  Letter grades and GPA will not be reflected on the report cards. Student transcripts will not change. Other than the fact that the grades on the transcript are derived from Standards-based learning and assessment, there is no change in the appearance of the grades on the transcript.

According to a recent college report, “Generally, admissions offices treat all grades as welcome indicators of high school performance while implicitly acknowledging that every school has a unique perspective, student body, and system.”

No. High school students’ standards-based learning will be translated into a letter grade, determining the grade point average. This reflects current practice done by other standards-based learning and reporting high schools. 

The components of SBLR increase students’ understanding of the specific skills, strategies, knowledge, and processes to succeed. Students are better able to learn self-advocacy and do the necessary work to achieve the learning standards before the summative assessments, increasing their ownership of learning. 

Learning outcomes are clearly articulated to the students throughout instruction. Parents and students can see which learning outcomes students have understood and which need re-teaching or relearning. SBLR enables students to take ownership of their learning, and it can foster an increased interest in learning.  

Changing long-held traditions is a difficult and lengthy process. It will require time to fine-tune processes and procedures.

SBLR breaks down learning standards into specific, manageable objectives. This clarity benefits students with learning differences and ELLs by providing achievable goals. SBLR also allows teachers to tailor instruction to meet individual student needs, and it provides specific feedback on which standards students have or have not shown proficiency in, enabling teachers to offer targeted interventions and support. 

In the 2023-2024 school year, teachers will work towards aligning their instruction and assessment to standards. A few select teachers will pilot their course to provide feedback. Parent and student education and communication will begin, and all stakeholders will be invited to provide feedback. 

In the 2024-2025 school year, all teachers must align one course to Standards-based learning and reporting practices to prepare for the full transition in the 2025-2026 school year.

Download Chinese FAQ Translation (PDF)

标准本位评分方式和报告 (SBGR) - 常见问题解答

Download Korean FAQ Translation (PDF)

학습목표 기반 성적 산출과 성적표(SBGR)에 관한 자주 묻는 질문