Sunday, February 21, 2010


Before reading this blog, read the article linked below...

So I finally am vindicated. I always talk about how unimportant grades are, and that the important thing is that you actually learn something. In my class, you are learning something with the goal of doing well on the AP Statistics exam.

Quakertown has decided that they are only going to grade the fact that students are learning something. Students are rated on what they are expected to learn on a scale of 1-4. If you know it extensively, you get a 4. If you know it well enough to complete elementary tasks, you get a 3. They have effectively made a student's grade based solely upon what they know. Not because they show up to class and don't fall asleep. Not because they are a nice kid. Not even because they do homework. The fluff in grading that we all know exists but none of us talk about, has been eliminated.

Big surprise that parents and students don't like it. "It's too hard sometimes to get an A." That's how it's supposed to be. The article then goes on to further support my claim that colleges don't really care about grades. I had to grin the entire time I was reading this article. Students don't like this form of grading because it increases accountability. If you want to earn a 4 for that particular standard, guess what, you have to do everything you need to do to learn the material.

In closing, how to I apply this idea to AP Statistics? I really like the idea of students being able to take a retest. An unsuccessful first attempt, and then you go back to the drawing board to relearn it and improve, then take the test again. It forces those that need more work to do more work. Those that don't need more work are able to move on.

I also have a list of all learning objectives for AP Stat. How'd you like to look at home access center and see 10,000 standards and your skill level in each one of them? You'd know exactly what you need to get better at. You'd know exactly what you've mastered.

The wheels are in motion here...

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way saying that North Penn should move in this direction. This blog was simply my musings on a way to adapt this idea of standards based grading to my AP Stat classroom. This article simply inspired me to consider a way to improve my classroom practice.