Grading for Learning

Grading for Learning and the Baraboo School District

The Baraboo School District believes the purpose of grading is to provide students and guardians with a snapshot view of a student’s proficiency on academic and behavioral/life skills at a particular time. 

What is Grading for Learning?

A standards-based system in which teachers report what students know and are able to do relative to district adopted standards. The foundational beliefs of this system include:

  • Academic grades are dependent upon student proficiency against identified standards and are not influenced by non-academic factors.

  • Academic grades will reflect the student’s level of proficiency attained on identified standards, as measured by specific assessments aligned to the standards and rubrics.

  • Behavioral/life skills grades will also be assessed and reported using defined rubrics.

  • Students will receive a separate grade for current academic scores and behavioral/life skills scores.

The use of most recent evidence rather than averaging

Unlike traditional grading systems, Grading for Learning measures a student’s mastery of grade-level  standards by prioritizing the most recent, consistent level of performance. Thus, a student who may have struggled at the beginning of a course, when first encountering new material, may still be able to demonstrate mastery of key academic skills/concepts by the end of a grading period.

In a traditional grading system, a student’s performance for an entire term is averaged together. Early quiz scores that were low would be averaged together with more proficient performance later in the course, resulting in a lower overall grade than a student’s current level of performance indicates.

The research behind Grading for Learning

Years of research connected to grading and reporting best practices are highlighted here. Read the following to learn more. 

Feldman, J. (2019). Beyond standards-based grading: Why equity must be part of grading reform. Phi Delta Kappan100(8), 52-55.

Feldman, J. (2018). Grading for equity: What it is, why it matters, and how it can transform schools and classrooms. Corwin Press.Campbell, C. (2012). Learning-centered grading practices. 

Dueck, M. (2014). Grading smarter, not harder: Assessment strategies that motivate kids and help them learn. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Guskey, T. R. (2006). Making high school grades meaningful. Phi Delta Kappan, 87(9), 670-675. doi:10.1007/s11092-014-9191-4

MARZANO, R. J. (2017). NEW ART AND SCIENCE OF TEACHING: More than fifty new instructional strategies for academic success. S.l.: SOLUTION TREE.Marzano, R. J. (2000). Transforming classroom grading. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

O'Connor, K. (2010). A repair kit for grading: 15 fixes for broken grades. Portland, OR: Pearson Assessment Training Institute.

Wormeli, R. (2011). Redos and retakes done right. Educational Leadership, 69(3), 22-26. Retrieved from

Bradburd-Bailey, M. (2011). A preliminary investigation into the effect of standards-based grading on the academic performance of african-american students. (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. (3511593)

Pollio, M. & Hochbein, C. (2015). The association between standards-based grading and standardized test scores as an element of a high school reform model. Teachers College Record, 117(11), 1-28.

Grading for Learning at Baraboo High School

During the 2018/2019 school year, Baraboo High School will transition to Grading for Learning. 

What’s NOT Changing in 2018-2019?

  • The use of letter grades.

  • The use of a grade point average.

  • The use of Infinite Campus as our reporting tool.

What IS Changing in 2018-2019?

  • How a letter grade is determined (based on proficiency against standards).

  • How assessments are designed in our classes to be standard specific. Assessments will measure standards. Scores are therefore entered in Infinite Campus for each individual standard, rather than an overall score for each assessment.

  • How we report behaviors and life skills separate from academic grades. 

  • How Infinite Campus looks to the guardian, student, and instructor. We will begin using components of Infinite Campus that are designed to support districts doing Grading for Learning.

Mr. Visger and Mr. Brickl talk about GFL at BHS

BHS GFL: Frequently Asked Questions

Review Baraboo High School 9-12 Standards and Rubrics here

GFL Equity Data (Year 1)

Grading for Learning at Jack Young Middle School and Baraboo Elementary Schools

The middle and elementary schools within the Baraboo School District utilize a standards-based system. Teachers report what students know and can do relative to district adopted standards. Teachers use a variety of evidence gathering structures to assign a mark of beginning, developing, proficient, or advanced in relation to each standard highlighted on report cards and within Infinite Campus. In addition, teachers provide meaningful feedback so both students and parents can track student progress toward mastery of fundamental academic concepts, reflect upon strengths and weaknesses, and identify multiple pathways to deeper learning.

The middle and elementary schools within the Baraboo School District have utilized a standards-based system in previous years and will continue to use this system during the upcoming school year.

Last Updated: 3/1/20