Implementing Standards-Based Grading: Elementary Teachers' Beliefs, Practices and Concerns
Adrian, Carrie Ann
MetadataShow full item record
In this age of standards-based education, students are being taught the concepts and skills deemed important and necessary according to state standards. Students are being assessed on their understanding of these concepts and skills through high-stakes testing. Standards-based grading is assessing students on their understanding of these same concepts and skills in their classroom work and informing parents of students' progress through regularly published report cards. This mixed-methods study explored the grading beliefs, practices and concerns of elementary teachers in a school district preparing to implement standards-based grading and reporting. The study also contained elements of action research as it was purposeful in planning for that specific change, and also due to the author's depth of involvement as both the researcher and elementary principal. During this study, teachers were participating in a book study in order to build a common knowledge base and common vocabulary around standards-based grading practices. The author was particularly interested in discovering teachers' concerns, in order to help identify and remove barriers to this change. Data were collected at both the beginning and end of the book study, through surveys using forced choice and written response. The study utilizes the concurrent triangulation strategy to compare the data and interpret the findings. Collaboration, technology and support, and educating families were the themes that emerged from the data. Teachers expressed the need for ongoing collaboration with their peers in order to create and maintain consistency across the district regarding standards-based grading. They expressed the desire to have an online grade book set up with all of the standards, and the training to use the grade book efficiently. They shared their need for support in learning how to organize their materials and how to manage their time. Regarding families, teachers wanted to be certain that parents and students will understand the process of standards-based grading, so that they can participate as partners in the process. Out of these themes, recommendations were made regarding the professional development and support needed to address the concerns of teachers and to help make the transition to standards-based grading as smooth as possible.