What standards-based grading programs do you use?


(Jeannie Bruland, Lighthouse Community Charter Schools) #1

The grading system we’ve been using for the last five years will not be available as of summer, so we need to find a new standards-based system. I’d love to hear about the experiences of other schools that use standards-based grading. What do you use? Why did you choose it? What do you see as the pros and cons?

We’re doing demos, talking to reps, etc., but the experience of other users is always most valuable!

Thanks for your thoughts!
Jeannie
Lighthouse Community Charter Public Schools


(Mcheng) #2

Hi Jeannie, we don’t do standards-based grading network-wide, but a year ago, one of our schools used Kickboard to try tracking this data. It wasn’t particularly usable from a data management perspective, and was terribly cumbersome to pull grades from, especially across multiple classes and schools. For me, that’s sort of a deal-breaker when it comes to picking a viable system for grades.

I know that doesn’t present a usable solution, but hopefully that can help you identify early on any dead-end paths!


(Mariel Matze, Schoolzilla) #3

@jeannie_bruland, @conan mentioned that you had a chance to ask @mdickel and @mdickel2 from Cornerstone and @gwest and @sreimert from Grimmway about their experiences with Kickboard as well. Did they have the same experience as @mcheng and had they found work-arounds?

Mark, did you ever find an alternative after deciding that Kickboard wasn’t right for Democracy Prep?


(Travis Cook) #4

Hey Jeannie -

I know that @tpajakowski has been doing a lot of thinking about Standards Grades and has been using PowerSchool.

I’ve also heard really good things about JumpRope, but I haven’t tried it myself.


(Mcheng) #5

@Mariel Good question! Since we don’t do standards-based grading as a network, over the past year we brought that school over to our traditional-based grading scheme (so that all our schools are on the same grading scheme), and that grading is facilitated by Jupiter. While I believe Jupiter is capable of standards-based grading, I can’t vouch for that functionality since we’ve never implemented Jupiter for that purpose.


(Mariel Matze, Schoolzilla) #6

Ah, got it @mcheng. Sounds like quite a project, both in terms of data migration and change management. I hope it’s working well for everyone now!

@Travis, nice ideas. I know @aspadaro has been working with JumpRope-- Adena, does ROADS use it for standards-based grading? If so, do you have pros/cons to offer Jeannie?


(Adena Spadaro) #7

@Mariel Thanks for flagging me!

@jeannie_bruland We do use JumpRope for standards-based grading across our Network of two high schools. We previously tried to use Kickboard and the built-in grade book in Infinite Campus as a standards-based gradebook, and found both very difficult to use, but this was a couple of years ago. The pros - JumpRope is very flexible, and has easy to understand built-in reports for students and teachers. It also allows for teachers to upload assignments, which our students can access through their parent portal. As a relatively small company they have a great help desk and I’ve found them receptive to feedback on their product.

The cons - they don’t yet have a way to connect to Schoolzilla, although it’s supposed to be finished sometime this quarter. The built-in reporting function only allows 10,000 rows of data to be exported at once, which means you have to re-run reports limited by time periods to pull raw data into Excel. They only have three levels of security control (Admin, Backoffice, Teacher). Every once in a while we run into issues with the connection to our SIS, but they’ve always been helpful in troubleshooting and isolating issues.

Let me know if you have any questions!


(Mdickel) #8

@Mariel We are currently using Kickboard at Cornerstone and we previously used Jump Rope (probably a very early version). We weren’t happy with Jump Rope and I would say that Kickboard has been better but it is certainly not all that we want. It doesn’t give flexibility re defining mastery, using rubrics (e.g., for writing), report card formats, and a variety of other issues. It also isn’t currently connected with Schoolzilla. Would love to hear about other options.


(Mariel Matze, Schoolzilla) #9

Sounds like both Kickboard and Jumprope have some notable drawbacks and neither offers all the elements you’re looking for.

@tpajakowski, how do you manage mastery-based grading in Powerschool and how does it do against Mark, Adena, and Marion’s criteria (exporting, ease-of-use for teachers, student access, security, connection to Schoolzilla)? @alexxawebb, maybe you have thoughts too?

(@jeannie_bruland, are we crowd-sourcing the kind of information you were hoping for? Please keep asking for the answers you need. :slight_smile: )


(Jeannie Bruland, Lighthouse Community Charter Schools) #10

Thanks all for such a wealth of information! I just had a chance to catch up on the thread and appreciate all your thoughts.

JumpRope and Kickboard are both on our radar — it seems like there are advantages and disadvantages to both, and we need to try them out. I’d love to hear if anyone has thoughts as to how friendly are those platforms for use by parents and students as well?

We’ve heard that PowerSchool’s latest update has improved its ability to handle standards-based grading — has anyone tried this? We’ve also looked at Illuminate, which says it can do standards-based grading, but I don’t know of anyone using it this way.

Ease of export of information, or ability to connect with Schoolzilla, are definitely deal-breakers for us! That was a major challenge with ActiveGrade, which is what we’ve used for the last few years, and the need to manually transfer any information that we needed in another system has kept grades from being as useful data-wise on an organizational level.


(Mariel Matze, Schoolzilla) #11

@tpajakowski from UChicago Charter School shared the following info, but we lost it in email-land. Here’s his response:

“Generally, it’s working. The only practical issue with PS is that it does simple math (unweighted averaging) to create Standard Grades and we are training/reminding teachers annually to use professional judgement and to override standards grades based on assignment grades when appropriate.”

Thanks, Tony!

Is weighted averages a must-have for Lighthouse, @jeannie_bruland?


(Mariel Matze, Schoolzilla) #12

To offer a quasi-answer to your wonderment about Illuminate, @jeannie_bruland, here’s an explainer I dug up from their documentation: Illuminate.pdf (804.7 KB). Looks like it does accommodate rubrics and weighed categories (and decaying averages), but it doesn’t answer our other questions.

@lrichardson, does LEAD use Illuminate for standards-based grading, by chance? Any experience with this functionality-- positive or negative?


(Lrichardson) #13

@Mariel @jeannie_bruland We aren’t currently using Illuminate for standards-based grading, but based on what they demo’d, it has more options for grade calculations than Kickboard did for us. Some of our middle schools have talked about moving to standards-based grading in the coming years, so those were important questions for us before deciding to move from Kickboard to Illuminate this year.

Just as a note, our high school did not do standards-based grading but had many issues with understanding how Kickboard was calculating grades.

One of our schools was leveraging Mastery Connect last year and felt that it was really strong at standards-based analytics. I’m not sure if you’re wanting something all encompassing, but I would definitely recommend looking into both Mastery Connect and Illuminate. cc: @jwright


(Mariel Matze, Schoolzilla) #14

@lrichardson, you are the best! What a wealth of research you’ve done here. Thank you!

Let’s shake out all the possibilities. @lnelson, Freedom Prep uses Mastery Connect for standards-based assessments, right? How has your experience been? Have you ever tried to use it for grades?

@sbowers, @jwhalen, @jaguda, you might have thoughts here too…!


(Mariel Matze, Schoolzilla) #15

@kmarcano, also looping you into this conversation, in case it’s helpful to you. What have your experiences with standards-based grading programs been so far?


(Kyra Marcano, Great Lakes Academy Charter School) #16

Thanks @Mariel! Last year we used very loose grading systems, and were admittedly not very accurate. I’ve explored Kiddom, a free online platform and they just released a PDF guide on implementing SBG, which can be accessed here. Right now I’m working on building an excel template with our power standards so teachers can enter exit ticket and other standards aligned work to track mastery. This is something I plan to have drafted out in the next week so I am open to any suggestions or templates others have used!