Know Best practices suggest four ways to make the most of standards- based grading and reporting.
Robert J. Marzano
and Tammy Heflebower
score (for example, 62. 9 percent).
These practices provide little use-
In an effort to cure the ills of current
grading and reporting systems, many
ful information about a specific stu-
schools and districts across the United
Standards-based grading and reporting have been topics of discussion for years, primarily because of the current system’s
dent. A student might have received
States have attempted to implement a
an overall or “omnibus” letter grade of
standards-based system. We have four
B, not because he had a solid grasp of
recommendations regarding best prac-
the target content, but because he was
tices in this area (Marzano, 2000, 2006,
exceptionally well behaved in class, par- 2010).
shortcomings (Brookhart & Nitko,
2008; Guskey & Bailey, 2001; Reeves,
2011). In the traditional system, stu-
ticipated in all discussions, and turned
in all assignments on time. Likewise, a
student may have received a percentage Get rid of the omnibus grade.
dents acquire points for various activi-
score of 62. 9, not because she dis-
ties, assignments, and behaviors, which played significant gaps in understand-
An effective standards-based grading
accrue throughout a grading period.
ing regarding the target content, but
and reporting system should eliminate
The teacher adds up the points and
because she received a zero for tardiness the overall or “omnibus” grade. In its
assigns a letter grade.
on assignments or for disruptive behav- place, teachers should score specific
A variation on this theme is to
ior. In addition to this lack of specific-
measurement topics. Figure 1 (p. 36)
keep track of percentage scores across
ity, one teacher’s criteria for assigning a depicts how this might look in math-
various categories of performance and
letter grade of A, for example, might be ematics for one middle school student
behavior and then translate the average equivalent to another teacher’s criteria
for the first-quarter grading period.
percentage score into a letter grade or
simply report the average percentage
for assigning a letter grade of B, or even
Notice that this graph has six bars,
each of which depicts the student’s