BFA Introduces Progress-Based Grading

Students in Math I are thinking differently about grades this year. They will be looking at their grades as a reflection of what they can do, and they will know exactly what else they need to do to be proficient in their class.

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BFA teachers have identified explicit learning targets in Math I,  based on the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics. Teachers have made those targets clear to their students. Students will receive grades based on when and how well they reach their learning targets according to proficiency-based grading. Their grades will be an accurate reflection of what they know, understand and can do mathematically, and not on whether they turn in their homework on time or how well they do on occasional tests.

What is Progress-Based Grading?  

Learning targets are the essential math knowledge and understandings that are at the heart of the Math I curriculum. For each learning target, the student will have opportunities to demonstrate their proficiency and progress in multiple small assessments, when they are ready. Once a student can show proficiency, they will move on with the collaborative support of their teachers and other students working at their pace. When they need extra help, they will go back and get the support they need to better understand and show their learning.

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Why?  

In the past, grades have reflected an average of many factors – homework, quizzes, and tests.  Students will now receive credit for learning they can demonstrate, explain and apply to the real world. Progress-Based Grading allows teachers to assess only the student’s true understanding of the mathematics material. The parent and the student will have a record of what the student knows and what they still must learn and be able to demonstrate.

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Progress-based grading or proficiency-based grading will pave the way for student-centered learning, where students will move at their own pace through the curriculum. Parents can expect to see this extended to higher-level mathematics courses as our curriculum is adjusted to reflect the Common Core State Standards.

2 thoughts on “BFA Introduces Progress-Based Grading

  1. How will you be addressing students not motivated to move through the curriculum? How are you helping unmotivated students set a pace that challenges them?

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    • Good questions Rachelle.

      We continue to employ the good teaching practices we’ve always held in our classrooms: working to make the mathematics curriculum relevant and relatable for students. By altering the way we assess students’ understanding we can specifically track what they know and don’t know. This is in itself more motivating for some students because they can work on the individual learning targets with which they struggle.

      In writing the 22 learning targets we created a course that would pace similarly to the prior Math One course. We expect that for the majority of students this is an appropriate pace. Like always, a few students will have opportunities for extensions on certain topics that they master quickly, and a few other students will have to be continually encouraged until they can demonstrate understanding on the learning targets.

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