Dear NYOS Families:
We wanted to communicate with you about an upcoming change in some of your students’ classes. In the 2018-2019 school year, a group of teacher-researchers are beginning to shift to a Standards-Based Grading System. You might be familiar with such a system, as the NYOS Elementary program employs this method throughout its grade levels. However, the secondary model might look slightly different. For one, the teachers are still required to report what might appear to be a traditional number grade in the gradebook. We encourage you to not think of this as a grade but rather a performance rating disclosing how your student is currently performing on a skill-based task. This rating will be updated frequently depending on the level of mastery demonstrated on summative assessments. This means that students are no longer graded for work completion (turning in work), behavior, or compliance (e.g. notebook checks). The grade or rating that you will see reflects their actual academic skills based on the content taught (as opposed to simple content recall). Teachers will be focusing on only 4-5 skills per quarter so that the learning is focused and thorough. Over the course of the year, skills will be added that build on previous learning. A majority of progress records will be qualitatively kept by the teachers (observations, student conferences, etc.). The teacher’s specific methods for rating and data collection will be specified in their respective syllabi.
Please know that the teachers are taking this opportunity because Standards-Based Grading is proven by research to be more equitable for all students, better reflects learning, and will prepare students for the independently driven work of the college and professional settings. Please feel free to ask questions as they may arise, and thank you for your support as we begin this journey to better serve your students.
The Standards-Based Grading Committee