Standard Based Grading

PE Assessment
Sample Photo of Physical Education Grade Book

Here is a sample of one page in my grade book. This daily assessment book is essentially a checklist from the Colorado State Grade Level Evidence Outcomes.    (If you go to this site click on Physical Education Crosswalk arranged by grade.)  Each grade has between 3-5 pages.  I have since changed this practice to using an electronic version on my Ipad.

Students’ names go in the far left column.  When they are performing a skill I mark the date and highlight a 1=Skill is not yet apparent, 2= Skill is developing, 3=Skill is Achieved at grade level or a 4= Skill exceeds grade level standards.  Then I can go back throughout the year and update with a different colored highlighter or marker.  I try to continue to use different color markers to distinguish different days the skill was assessed. Since changing to an electronic version I use google sheets and conditionally format page.  I have links to these worksheets on assessment page. This method helps me plan future lessons.

I can asses multiple times if needed.  For example I might mark once from an observation, I write down the date and exact activity. I can mark again from an exit slip or entrance task.  This allows me to determine if the student knows the learning cues as compared to the student is able to perform the learning cues. I continue to assess formally and informally throughout year.  Again the continual evaluation of my students’ progress allows me to plan purposeful lessons.

Standard based grading can seem a daunting undertaking. Here are some simple steps that have helped me.

1.  Know the Standards.  Here is what I mean.  Have the standards up in your gym, have them in your grade book, include them in your daily posted student outcome, have  them in front of you and the students continuously.

2.  Get down further to the student expected outcomes.  Because Colorado has defined student outcomes, I refer to these daily with my students.  The outcomes drive my lessons.  The outcomes are in front of my students and myself continuously.  They are written on our gym whiteboard daily.  See, I want my students to know where we are going, what they should be working toward.  My lessons are driven by these outcomes and the activities are merely the car or bus or train we’re taking to get there.  The expected outcomes are written across the top of my grade book. It clearly defines what my students need to know and be able to do.

3.  Now for each outcome I have multiple assessments.  Exit slips, entrance tasks, student self assessments, student video assessments, peer assessments, and my own visual assessments just to name a few.  In addition I use think-pair-share, and thumbs up as quick informal assessments. I am always checking to see where my students are, to determine; do I need to re-teach, do they need  individual time to practice, who needs added extensions.  Typically within each class and lesson I need to do all of the above.  I am always asking myself do they “get it?”  Do they know the teaching cues?  Are they performing teaching cues? Maybe they know them  and just need more time to integrate them. Are the teaching cues I gave them making sense?

4.  Teaching Cues;  where do they come from?  Often the teaching cues I start with are standard. Beginner catchers; “keep your eye on the object, reach for the object.”  However, within a class I might have several students who are ready to think about “thumbs together when catching above your waist, Pinkies together when catching below your waist.”  Maybe all my students know the cues.  “What do good catchers always do, or think about?”  If all of my students can verbally respond “watch the ball into your hands, and  reach for the ball.” but only a few of them perform it consistently, again I begin reflecting what is the best next course of action: more practice time, bigger variety of balls, what about the students who are great catchers….”

5.  Grading students comes from meshing all this information.   I might mark each outcome many times on my grade book.  I might be observing students practice a skill at a station and mark down that they perform at grade level.  Then later in the lesson sequence I may observe them in a think-pair-share activity having a conversation with a partner about how good catchers are predicting the flight of the ball while they are watching it and are moving to catch it.  I will make another mark in my book under exceeds grade level because of their level of understanding.  Some outcomes I  continue to evaluate throughout semester and year.

6.  Reporting to parents from a standard based program    My report card looks similar to my grade book.  I have the standard and the outcome listed,  with a 1-4 posted.  I give the student the highest score they achieved in my grade book.  So if I have a 4 recorded, that is the grade they receive.  I don’t grade on effort, or attitude.   If your state doesn’t have specific grade level outcomes, you might want to check out Colorado’s so that you have a starting point.  These aren’t perfect, all-inclusive, you will need to adjust and adapt, but it might give you a place to begin.

9 responses to “Standard Based Grading

  1. Hi Lynn,

    Thanks for your assessment ideas. How long are your units? If your students don’t reach the level you want them to achieve, do you continue the unit? I find that I am becoming more flexible about letting the assessment determine the end of a unit and not the unit plans that I set up as guidelines at the beginning of the year. However, there is so much to cover!

    • Hi Lynn,
      I would love to hear about the sassessment you use! Each unit varies in length. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with work in Colorado, but we are moving toward using Pacing Guides. Each grade only has about 3-4 units/year. If you’re interested, check out samples on CDE website. Because of the long units, based on big groups of learning outcomes, it gives me lots of time to reteach and then revisit at a later date. I also try to preteach the evidence outcomes in the year prior to when it is supposed to be mastered, helping students reach evidence outcomes eaiser. But with each evidence outcome I have a few students who might not reach mastery and there are a few evidence outcomes I won’t get to each year, then I have to really teach them well the following year! Crazy, yes there is always lots to do! As my Dad used to say, “keeps the grass from growing under my feet!”

  2. Thanks for your information. What grades do you teach? I am just transitioning to more assessments with my students. (grades 3-5). Trying many different types of assessments so as not to become overwhelmed. So far my students are doing well. How do your students respond to all of the assessments? This is the second year I have been writing target goals on the whiteboard and that has been working well too.

    • Hi Chris,
      I teach k-5th grades. I find that entrance tasks are one of the easiest, quickest informal assessments. Most of my assessments are quick and informal. Because I don’t say “I’m assessing you”, or “we are going to do a quick test” my students just carry on, if they ask “Is this for my grade?” I will honestly reply, “well a little bit but mostly so I can gauge my teaching, I need to see if we should move forward or backward.” Because I use lots of little assessments I end up with a pretty big body of evidence to support their growth. Sometimes I will say, “I am watching you today to see your very best ie..throwing, be sure to show me how great you can throw, remember the learning cues are….” What kind of different assessments are you using?

      • Thanks again for the information. I just bought two books: “Elementary PE Teaching and Assessment-a practical guide”, and “PE assessment Tool kit” with a dvd for reproducibles. I have found some good ideas in both that I want to try with my classes. I saw some entrance and exit assessments and am planning to use them. In the past two years, I did basic skills assessments during practice and while involved in modified games. Have also created a few knowledge assessments based on our GLCE’s. (grade level content expectations). This year I created an assessment that I used at the beginning of the year that covered GLCE’s and content I cover for the entire year. I used it as a pre-assessment and will use it again during the middle and end of the year to check on knowledge progress. For each unit I am going to do some type of skill and knowledge assessment. Our district requirements are changing which is why I need to add more assessments. We need to show student growth throughout the year. I have been telling the students the same thing: I am using this information so I know what to focus on to help them to get better. So your information has helped me to know I am on the right track! Thanks again!!

      • Chris,
        I am not familiar with the books, but will order them today! I am really interested in your GLCE pre-assessment. Our district is going through the same process of measuring student growth. I am still tryiing to wrap my brain around how to best do this. Any chance you would be willing to share what you have created?

      • Sure. Send me your email and I will send you the copy. It is only 23 questions and multiple choice. I tried to cover the important content from the entire year. My principal suggested between 20-25 questions. That seemed about right. It turned out to be 3 pages. It wasn’t overwhelming for the students to complete.

  3. I have been wanting something like this for each standard I teach. Do you have an electronic one you can please share with me so that I can edit it with whatever we are working on for the rest of the year? I would be so thankful!!

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