Performance-Based Grading

Definition 

3 Key features: 1. Connect to clearly articulated learning objectives. 2. Separate academic achievement from behaviors. 3. Focus on learning progress. The practice of assessing students on their level of mastery of competencies/performance outcomes or standards. Grades are based on the final level of achieved mastery. This fundamentally different from traditional grading systems that typically consist of a cumulative score that's a combination of task completion, effort, and an average score on assignments and tasks.

Features 

  • Advancement on Mastery

Designer's Tips 

Explore our featured tool, Building a Mastery-based Grading Policy, which offers a comprehensive guide to creating a mastery-based grading policy, and showcases multiple approaches to performance-based grading.

Tips for a Short Implementation Time-Line 

Begin by developing a grading system that will allow for tracking both academic mastery and noncognitive habits or behaviors. The system should measure progress on performance indicators (such as Asia Society's), the Common Core/Next Gen. standards, or summative and formative tasks.

Curated Resources: This collection of resources from the field includes models and exemplars, as well as “DIY” guidance to facilitate your exploration of this term. 

Casco Bay High School: Faculty Grading Guide

Description 

This extensive guide to Casco Bay's standards-based Grading System provides a useful model for schools seeking to develop their own Grading Policy Handbook. It helpfully describes the principles that underlie their system, in addition to providing practical tools, FAQ's, and guidance on such issues as homework and late assignments. See NMEF's "Making Mastery Work" and Springpoint's "Inside Mastery-Based High Schools: Profiles & Conversations" for an overall description of CBHS's practice and approach.

Resource Type 

  • School-Developed Resources

Publishing Organization 

Casco Bay High School

Type of Organization 

  • School or District

Terms 

Grade Composition
Grade Reports
Grading Policy
Graduation Plan
Performance-Based Grading
Proficiency-Based Grading
Promotion Plan
Rating System
Scoring Rubrics

Getting Up to Speed on Proficiency-Based Grading

Description 

This blog post provides links to a curated collection of resources addressing various aspects of grading within a mastery learning system, including a video discussion between a Casco Bay teacher and student. The resource will be especially helpful to designers who want to introduce this approach to stakeholders, or who want to quickly learn more about mastery learning.

Authors 

Chris Sturgis

Resource Type 

  • Blog Post

Publishing Organization 

CompetencyWorks

Type of Organization 

  • Government Organization
  • Intermediary or Management Organization

Terms 

Performance-Based Grading
Proficiency-Based Grading
Rating System
Scoring Rubrics
Grading & Reporting System

Great Schools Partnership: Assessment Verification

Description 

In this section of the Great Schools Partnership website, district and school designers will find guidance on what to assess, how to assess it, and how to verify and report student proficiency in relation to standards. Given that many mastery learning schools often struggle with the purpose of homework and how to structure it, the GSP' tool on how to use homework in a proficiency-based environment may prove particularly helpful.

Resource Type 

  • Tool

Publishing Organization 

Great Schools Partnership

Type of Organization 

  • Non-Profit

Terms 

Performance-Based Grading
Proficiency-Based Grading
Grade-Level Descriptors
Grade-Level Expectations
Grade-Level Indicators
Performance-Level Indicators
Performance Indicators
Rating System
Grading & Reporting System
Learning Progressions
Learning Targets

Making Mastery Accessible--Grading Policy Guide

Description 

Developing a grading policy is a key step toward solidifying and communicating a mastery learning system to stakeholders. Our Grading Policy Design Guide details the must-haves for setting up a coherent and comprehensive system to support and track mastery learning. Because so many schools operate within states and districts that are organized around the Carnegie Unit, the guide also provides a set of recommendations and workarounds to address the particular tensions that arise from this circumstance.

Authors 

Antonia Rudenstine

Resource Type 

  • Tool

Publishing Organization 

reDesign

Type of Organization 

  • reDesign

Terms 

Grading Policy
Graduation Plan
Performance-Based Grading
Proficiency-Based Grading
Promotion Plan
Grade-Level Descriptors
Grade-Level Expectations
Grade-Level Indicators
Performance-Level Indicators
Exhibitions
Performance Indicators
Rating System
Grading & Reporting System

NESSC: Leadership In Action Brief: I want to Know More

Description 

This article examines the benefits of proficiency-based grading and the limitations of traditional grading systems. It also examines the eight principles and practices that Casco Bay uses to guide its performance-based grading system.

Resource Type 

  • Blog Post

Publishing Organization 

New England Secondary School Consortium

Type of Organization 

  • Government Organization
  • Intermediary or Management Organization

Terms 

Performance-Based Grading
Proficiency-Based Grading

Progress and Proficiency: Redesigning Grading for Competency Education

Description 

This iNACOL Issue Brief provides an overview of grading in a competency-based system. Readers will find that this Brief identifies problems with traditional grading systems, explores alternatives, presents lessons from the field, and offers a glimpse of reforms on the leading edge. It is a helpful resource for practitioners working to understand the landscape as a whole.

Authors 

Chris Sturgis

Resource Type 

  • Report

Publishing Organization 

iNACOL

Type of Organization 

  • Non-Profit

Terms 

Performance-Based Grading
Proficiency-Based Grading
Grade-Level Descriptors
Grade-Level Expectations
Grade-Level Indicators
Performance-Level Indicators
Performance Indicators
Rating System
Grading & Reporting System
Learning Progressions
Learning Targets

Assessment to Support Competency-Based Pathways

Description 

This report offers practical advice to designers and implementers of assessment systems in competency-based environments. It addresses the challenge of creating summative assessments that are valid, reliable, and meaningful. While it is possible to achieve, creating a quality system requires thoughtful considerations of such features as grain size and learning sequences. A number of case studies presented.

Authors 

Chris Domaleski, Brian Gong, Karin Hess, Scott Marion

Resource Type 

  • Report

Publishing Organization 

Center for Assessment & Achieve

Type of Organization 

  • Non-Profit

Terms 

Performance-Based Grading
Proficiency-Based Grading
Performance Task
Performance Assessment

Great Schools Partnership: Selecting an On-Line Grading & Reporting System: Rubric to guide decision-making

Description 

This Great Schools Partnership-designed tool provides a helpful list of questions to ask when comparing and evaluating online grading and reporting systems for use in a mastery learning school. It can assist educators in identifying and prioritizing features, since no single system is likely to be a perfect solution.

Resource Type 

  • Tool

Publishing Organization 

Great Schools Partnership

Type of Organization 

  • Non-Profit

Terms 

Grade Conversion
Grade Reports
Performance-Based Grading
Rating System
Scoring Rubrics
Competency-Based Education (CBE)
Grading & Reporting System

Tech. Tools Lag our Competency-Based Aspirations

Description 

As the title makes clear, this blog post discusses the current mismatch between what mastery learning system designers need, and what tech developers are currently producing. It describes how even the most innovative products are generally too limited in scope, too tied to old models of assessment and grading, or fail to fully integrate the assessment, grading, tracking and programming components that are highly interdependent in personalized, mastery learning schools. 

Authors 

Julia Freeland

Resource Type 

  • Blog Post

Publishing Organization 

CompentencyWorks

Type of Organization 

  • Non-Profit

Terms 

Performance-Based Grading
Proficiency-Based Grading
Student Information System
Rating System
Scoring Rubrics
Blended Learning
Grading & Reporting System
Learning Management System (LMS)

SFF: How SFF Works: Advancement & Grading

Description 

Schools for the Future is an ungraded high school with four performance levels: Core 1 (students with skills below a 7th grade level); Core 2 (students with skills in the 7-9th grade span); Transitions (students working on 10th-11th grade skills and knowledge); and Pathways (college preparation). This document describes advancement and grading within this system.

Authors 

Nora Priest, Antonia Rudenstine, Ephraim Weisstein

Resource Type 

  • School Developed Resources

Publishing Organization 

Schools for the Future

Type of Organization 

  • Intermediary or Management Organization

Terms 

Performance-Based Grading
Promotion Plan
Scoring Rubrics
Grading & Reporting System