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FAIL: The Case for Standards Based Grading

First Attempt In Learning, or FAIL, is not a bad word, or at least it shouldn’t be. Unfortunately FAIL does have a bad connotation that is due to the normative approach to grading and those teachers that seek to inflate or deflate grades as students race to the top of the grading scale.  The approach of grading everything and then adjusting the weight of an assignment, adding in extra-credit, or adjusting grades down for late work has a negative effect on the students and tends to bring into the teaching of our teachers. School shouldn't have this negative vibe to it and should be a place where the focus is on learning and less on class ranks.

Traditional Grading

Traditional grading of using letters to denote student proficiency has been around for as long as school has been around. A letter grade connotes a convoluted and mysterious mixture of learning, participation and extra credit, yet fails to answer the basic mission of schools - what did the student learn? (Vander Ark 2013) T…

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