Standardsbased Grading

Standards-based Grading

At all U-46 middle and high schools, we use fair and equitable grading practices that are based on student achievement and aligned to state and national standards. These common grading practices are intended to demonstrate that students have the knowledge and skills necessary for the next level of a course, the next grade, and are prepared for college and the workforce.


Elgin High School is working to standardize grading practices to provide clear and specific learning standards that are shared with students, parents, teachers, and administrators. These standards establish what a student must know and be able to do in order to show proficiency in the content of a course. Standardized grading practices provide a clearer picture to students and families as to what grading criteria is used and the school’s expectations of student learning and achievement.


Elgin High School has been preparing for the transition to Standards Based Grading (SBG) for the last three years. Our teachers understand that:

  1. Grades should reflect proficiency on well-defined learning targets that are clear to all people.
  2. Grades should be based on academic performance using formative and summative assessments.
  3. Grading scales should be devised to give equal incremental value to each letter grade.
  4. Students should be expected to complete all work for credit.
  5. Students should be given multiple ways to demonstrate their knowledge.
  6. Feedback should be timely, specific, and related to learning targets.
  7. Students should be given multiple opportunities to reach proficiency on specific learning targets.


In our first year with SBG, teachers have the option of entering the “shallow end” or the “deep end” of the standards based “pool.” Teachers opting to enter the “shallow end’ will adopt a 0-4 grading scale where a 4 equals mastery and a 1 equals below basic. A mark of O equates to there being no evidence of learning, usually meaning that the student did not complete any/enough work to demonstrate understanding. Teachers in the “shallow end’ should still have clear learning targets that are outlined in their course syllabus.


The majority of our teachers at EHS have chosen to enter the “deep end” and fully implement standards based grading. These teachers have identified six to eight standards or “big ideas” that encompass that class. Teachers have also identified clear learning targets and levels of performance for students to master. Student performance on these learning targets determines their overall proficiency on each standard. How a student performs overall across the standards will determine a final grade.


Standards Based Grading does not impact how a student’s GPI/GPA is calculated and does not eliminate the weighting of grades for honors and AP courses. Students still receive a letter grade (A-E) on their report card. A student who receives straight A’s in regular classes would have a 4.0 GPI on a 4.0 scale. A student who receives straight A’s in honors/AP courses would have a 5.0 GPI on a 4.0 scale.


Below are videos that help better explain how SBG is being implemented here at EHS. Check back periodically for updated videos.


Grades should reflect proficiency on standards:


How we determine the final grade:


Standards-Based Learning & Assessment (SBLA) Overview