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Standards / Competency Based Grading

August 26, 2015

I don’t know if I’m supposed to keep grades in homeschooling—I haven’t really got that far in reading up on the legal requirements—but this article about standards based grading at a high school near Fresno caught my eye.  The students move up when they reach a certain level of achievement, and may not be in the same place in all subjects.  As one student notes, “That’s very helpful for me because I am mostly good at math and not that good at ELA. When I am better at math than some other kids, I can move ahead to what I need to rather than being held back.”  This kind of happens automatically in homeschooling—like the student quoted, our son is better in math and needs more help and support in ELA, so that’s what we do.  But given that the neglect of gifted students has been in the news ahead of the release of Failing Our Brightest Kidsit seems that student pacing based on competency is a idea worth considering for many students and many grades.  It would change how instructors think about grading, and what kind of work is judged meaningful.

I can’t, at present, see how I could do this at the college level in a course with TAs, but I think it is something to work towards for classes at other levels.

And of course, competency based grading seems well-suited for homeschooling.

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