More Bs and Cs, fewer As and Fs

The start of this school year brought along the use of standards-based grading in hopes of lowering the number of F grades among students. Standards-based grading aims to grade by quality and understanding of work instead of just completion. Some teachers made tests count for 90 percent or more of students’ grades, leaving homework and other assignments to barely make an impact. 

Grades have changed since implementing standards-based grading, according to a comparison of third quarter grades in 2020 and 2022. The percentage of Fs has gone down 1.06 percent, from 6.58 percent to 5.52 percent. Also dropping were the number of As, from 55.58 to 54.01 percent. 

On the other hand, Bs rose from 20.94 percent to 22.98 percent. Cs also increased from 11.16 percent to 11.75 percent. Ds remained nearly the same with 5.7 percent.

After three-quarters of standards-based grading, students and staff still have mixed feelings. Students each have their own opinion on the grading method and not all teachers are on board with it, even so far into the year.

“I think standards-based grading is really excellent once the initial learning curve is overcome; some people are frustrated with it, which is understandable because it’s only being applied partially, but when it’s applied as a complete package it’s much better for students and teachers,” said English teacher Trenton Logan. “For teachers, it means grading less busy work and focusing on the things that really matter, and for students, it teaches them to take ownership over their own learning.” 

Logan supports standards-based grading because he feels it prepares students better for college in the way that it prioritizes actual learning instead of receiving points. He notes that with standards-based grading, students are able to retake tests to improve their grades which promotes understanding of the material instead of just moving on and forgetting everything.

Economics teacher Eric Bahm expressed an opposing view. “I think we’re trying to do multiple things here as a school: I want the students to be more attentive readers, think about stuff, evaluate sources, build a good work ethic,” explains Bahm. “Particularly for a course like economics where it’s really conceptual, there isn’t one thing I’m looking for. There isn’t one way to really judge. I think the effort should help some.”

Students also are frustrated with the system of grading. 

“It just makes homework pointless, meaning most people aren’t going to do it and it puts too much weight on tests. Yeah, you get infinite retakes but that doesn’t matter if you keep failing the test,” said senior Dakota Brown. 

Another senior Faye Brown notes that there are teachers who will give a bunch of assignments, but because of standards-based grading, they don’t mean anything and just become a burden that doesn’t help students’ learning.

Bahm has had many students come to him complaining about standards-based grading, saying they understand that they can retake tests but don’t feel like it improves their understanding. 

“You know you can retake the test so there isn’t much at stake the first time,” said Bahm. He feels that if students do poorly on a test they will just keep retaking until they reach the desired grade instead of studying and understanding the topic the first time around. 

“It makes your grade harder to fix. Because your grade is impacted more by each assignment, if you do poorly on one assignment it will drop your grade significantly. So there is no incentive to do homework or study,” said senior Vincent Xiao. 

A common complaint against standards-based grading is that it makes it harder to understand a topic because you don’t get the repetition that homework would normally provide. 

“I understand the topic more with homework and stuff like that. I was always the person who didn’t have to study, I could just do the homework and get As and Bs on tests,” said Xiao.

“Something like this is just another quick fix—like Common Core—that seems like it’ll fix things but it just kind of makes it worse,” said Bahm.

24 thoughts on “More Bs and Cs, fewer As and Fs

  • May 29, 2022 at 8:42 am
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    I feel it is unfair especially for students who have a 504/IEP. Those students test lower due to a number of reasons having to do with their disability. This means they only get graded on their ability to test well. Integrated Math 3 counted homework as zero percent. Yes, you could have aced your homework and still failed the class. There should be some compromise otherwise you are dooming students to not graduate from CVHS.

  • May 23, 2022 at 1:50 pm
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    I think it is interesting that more students are getting B’s and C’s and fewer A’s and F’s. There are probably many factors that have contributed to this change but I wonder how big an impact distance learning had on this.

  • May 23, 2022 at 1:49 pm
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    It is interesting to see how it effected grades this year. Standards-based grading has made schoolwork much more difficult for me. Personally I find my grade lowering in my classes that use it and do not think it is an effective way to grade because it only takes into account the students test taking ability.

  • May 23, 2022 at 1:46 pm
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    I think that the transition from online learning to in person really changed how we learn, and that a lot of people used to rely on devices a lot more at home. I’m not really surprised that this year that the grades kind of fluctuate.

  • May 23, 2022 at 1:43 pm
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    I think that standard based grading is easier, but harder to get As. Personally it’s really easy in standard based grading to stay at a B because the range is so far. That also means that getting an A ls much harder than before because the range is bigger. it is also harder to fail a class u less you don’t do anything.

  • May 23, 2022 at 1:42 pm
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    this is a good change, hopefully these trends continue be happening.

  • May 23, 2022 at 1:38 pm
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    Standards Based Grading can work both ways for people, though in this case it helped get rid of some Fs but at the same time it also got rid of some As at the same time.

  • May 23, 2022 at 10:51 am
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    I think it’s great that there are fewer f letter grades, kinda sucks about the A’s.

  • May 23, 2022 at 9:34 am
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    I think this article is very interesting because of how people feel about standard based grading. Everyone learns and works a different way like some aren’t good test takers but good students. I think it is unfair for some students.

  • May 23, 2022 at 9:33 am
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    I think standards-based grading is helpful for me. I get to redo the test for the full credit. It allows me to get a good grade once I study all the content. And I don’t have to worry about homework but to study on my own pace.

  • May 23, 2022 at 9:30 am
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    I agree with Athena Sy Kuzuhara. There are many things that standard-based grading does, in good ways and bad.

  • May 23, 2022 at 9:30 am
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    Interesting to see that the average grades from last year and this year drastically changed. I wonder if it is due to standard based grading or is it due to the transition from online/distance learning.

  • May 23, 2022 at 9:30 am
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    I think that the grade changes can be for a number of reasons, a lot of people find standards based easier to pass but harder to get an A. To get an F in standards based you basically just have to not do anything at all then you can get an F, but as long as you try and get some things right you will end up with a C or B i feel like.

  • May 23, 2022 at 9:05 am
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    I personally really like standards based grading. This is mainly because I’ve been able to maintain good grades because of it. But I do understand if people don’t like it. Maybe it would be a good idea to let students say what system they prefer, so that students are put in classes that use that system that they best work with.

  • May 23, 2022 at 8:33 am
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    Standard based grading makes things more difficult, I’ve had to study way more than I’ve had to in previous years and it’s harder to maintain a high grade. Drinking my brain enhancing concoction doesn’t even really help me, even when I put in the celery extraments.

  • May 23, 2022 at 8:29 am
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    I think Standard Based Grading is a good thing and a bad thing. It help pushes us to study for our next test or quiz but on the downside, if you don’t do well, your grade goes down by a lot.

  • May 20, 2022 at 11:10 am
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    This article is interesting, I do believe that standards based grading is the cause. Getting one bad grade on a test can pull your grade down so far, and because of the small grading scale and lack of other assignments, it is very hard to get your grade back up. Also, teachers usually give out just whole numbers like 3’s or 4’s, meaning you don’t have those exact percentages to help push your grade up.

  • May 18, 2022 at 11:34 pm
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    Its intersting to see grades become effected by standered based grading already. I personlly dont like because it doesnt give a lot of direct motivation to learn and study and most of the time the teachers teaching with standred based understand that most students will not be attentive making the class more diffcult to pass. I hope they remove standered based and I know many of my peers share my opinion.

  • May 18, 2022 at 9:59 am
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    This information is interesting. I hope students will work harder to achieve better grades.

  • May 17, 2022 at 10:10 am
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    I agree with what Xiao said about not really having to study for tests before standards-based grading. Now, I’ve realized I have been studying more, which shows that I don’t understand the topic as well as the first time. I’m really not a fan of this new grading system. I also agree that even though there are more retake options, there is really little room to improve. I think it’s mainly since you just need to study for the next test and try to remember subjects you haven’t really touched In weeks.

  • May 17, 2022 at 7:53 am
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    To be honest, I do not hate standards based grading. There is some lost of incentive to complete assignments which I understand. I think there should maybe be some way to give more credit for homework. I really liked the test retakes. I think that if the teacher employs the test retakes well, it can benefit the students more. Before standards based grading, I would study for a test, take it, and when I would do badly on a test, I would just skim over what I did incorrectly. Now, I make an effort to understand what I didn’t do well on to get a better grade.

  • May 17, 2022 at 7:37 am
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    i think its interesting that even though the numbers of f’s are dropping, the number of a’s are also dropping. i don’t think standards based grading is the most effective way to teach students, but it’s good that there are less people who are failing their classes because of the change.

  • May 16, 2022 at 10:14 pm
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    Good article! I often felt this when I was at CVHS especially with AP classes. I think students all work differently and should have the option to either do Pass/Fail or just standard letter grades. Not everything is about having As, other grades like Bs and Cs are good too for students who have harder understanding subjects.

  • May 16, 2022 at 7:50 pm
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    Standards-Based grading IS NOT HELPING STUDENTS! If a student even gets ONE bad test score it DROPS YOUR GRADE MORE THAN 10%, EVEN IF WE ARE WELL INTO THE SEMESTER! When I get a bad score in Integrated 3 on a test, I make sure to go over it, and retake the parts that I did NOT do well on, but even that doesn’t help sometimes. I do ALL of my homework and classwork. That still DOES NOT HELP at all. I am trying to get an A in ALL classes from the first day of the school year to the last day of the school year. If a student does poorly ON ONE TEST, that should NOT drop their grade. Tests should NEVER be your whole grade. I put in a lot of effort and a lot of work, but THEY FAIL TO EVEN ACKNOWLEDGE THAT!
    I think that standards-based grading is a scam, and I think that WHOEVER introduced standards-based grading to the school district, AS WELL AS whoever put standards-based grading in Integrated Math 3, THEY SHOULD BOTH BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE RIGHT NOW!

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