Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we use Standards Based Grading?

The purpose of grades in conjunction with a report card, is to accurately report what students know and can do at specific points in time. By providing specific skills on a report card, we feel we can more accurately report what a student knows and can do at the end of each grading period.

How are grades determined?

With Standards Based Grading grades are not averaged. We look at the mode and most recent to provide a better picture of how your child is doing on a specific skill. Sometimes when grades are averaged, it skews the final skill grade and doesn’t give an accurate picture of what the student knows and can do at the end of a grading period. (e.g.: all A’s, then 1 F, average = B, really an A student)  Grades are determined using various rubrics or checklists instead of adding up points and getting a percentage. We describe what students need to know in order to get a 3, 2, 1, etc.  We do not give zeroes for work not turned in on time. Students are made to do the work, again because we want to know what a student knows and can do. 

Please explain the Grading Scale at WMS.

3+ is not possible to earn on every assignment; a child has to be able to teach the material to someone else, in other words, be very confident in the skills and has mastered the content. Many times, this won’t happen the first time something is introduced. Earning a 3 is where we want students to be; by providing this 4th level of 3+, this gives students something to strive for in order to work to potential. 5th Grade will assess using the 3+ starting in Trimester 2.  

What are Student Responsibilities?

Student Responsibilities are not strictly academic, but are important tools for learning and have an impact on learning. It is important for students to complete homework, participate in class, be productive during class by completing work, and put forth effort on class assignments. These are reported separately so we can determine students’ achievement versus their work habits, as sometimes these can differ.  Teachers use a grade-level consistent rubric to assess these responsibilities.

What impact does this have on my student in high school?

WCHS uses a traditional grading scale, with 90-100% being an A. Our 11-14 year-old middle school students have different needs than 15-18 year-old high school students. Some of our approaches to teaching and learning are different than those students may experience in high school. One of the best ways we can prepare our students for high school is to ensure they have a solid academic foundation. Our new approach to grading places the emphasis on learning and supporting students through the academic process while maintaining high academic standards.