What is Target-Based Grading?
Target-Based Grading communicates how a student is performing on a set of clearly defined learning targets, by identifying what a student knows and what he/she still needs to learn.
It provides meaningful feedback about a student’s learning and clearly communicates whether he/she has met a learning target or if he/she needs to engage in additional learning opportunities in order to reach proficiency on that target.
How is Target-Based Grading Different from Traditional Grading?
Target-Based Grading focuses on what a student has actually learned. Other factors such as homework completion, participation, and attendance do not count towards the student’s grade. Instead, grades are based on a student’s most recent level of performance on assessments, which are designed to show a student’s proficiency level.
Thus, a student who may have struggled at the introduction of the new classroom material will work to develop the skill and may be able to demonstrate proficiency by the time he/she takes the assessment at the end of a grading period. If proficiency is not reached, the student will be given more support to learn the skill and have an opportunity to retest.
In a traditional grading system, a student’s performance for an entire quarter is averaged together. Early homework and quiz scores (that may have been low) are averaged into more recent scores, resulting in a grade that does not accurately reflect the student’s current level of performance.
Why is Norfolk Public Schools changing its grading system?
- Historically, grading at Norfolk High School has included inconsistent practices. (* High scores at NHS have not correlated with high scores on the ACT.)
- Traditional Grading is not an accurate reflection of student learning.
- Research indicates that Target-Based Grading leads to higher levels of student achievement.
Strategic Planning Goal
During the 2017-2018 school year, a committee of teachers, parents, students, administrators and community members crafted a goal that indicated all NPS teachers in grades preK-12 would implement and use Target-Based Grading by Fall of 2021. However, we realize that this goal was overly ambitious and are in the process of developing a slower implementation timeline. That revised timeline will be shared in the near future.
We are piloting Target-Based Grading utilizing a 3 point proficiency scale, where 3 = Proficient, 2 = Approaching, and 1 = Needs Support in the following courses:
- Elementary: 4th Grade English/Language Arts
- Middle School: 5th & 6th Grade Math and 6th Grade Science
- Junior High: 8th Grade Math
- Senior High: Algebra, Geometry, Statistics and Government
Coming in the Future:
Based upon parent feedback, we will be adding a 4th ADVANCED level to this scale.
We will also publish a conversion chart, which will be used to convert a student’s proficiency score into a 4.0 Grade Point Average. This conversion chart will be reviewed at upcoming staff, parent, and School Board meetings — with implementation beginning in August 2020.
The Grade Point Average will be included on students’ high school transcripts for use by colleges and scholarship committees.
For More Information:
- Contact your child’s principal
- Learn more on our website at www.norfolkpublicschools.org/district/teaching-and-learning
- Call Mrs. Beth Nelson, NPS Director of Teaching and Learning, at 402-644-2500