There are a few things I need to decide when implementing my SBG for next year. I’m definitely doing a 1-4 scale where 1 is “Beginning”, 2 is “Developing”, 3 is “Proficient”, and 4 is “Mastery”. Any fewer and I would feel that I’m not giving enough specific feedback, whether to motivate faster learners or encourage slower learners. Any more and I might as well just go back to a 100 point grading scale (at least that’s what it feels like for some reason).
However, I still have to report grades, at the end of the quarters and on report cards, on the A, B, C,
D, F scale. Therefore, the one thing I have to decide is “what % should I assign each value”.
To decide this I created an Excel sheet (actually a Google Spreadsheet), and I looked at some scenarios, having decided what I would want the outcome of that scenario to be, and edited the percentages to meet my expectations. I’ll list just a few below.
One thing you should know is that our school uses a 10 point grading scale, but doesn’t have D’s. Therefore a 70 is passing (C-), while a 69 is failing.
Student is exactly Proficient in All the Standards
Expectation: I want to reward this student because this is what I would like every student to accomplish at a minimum.
Result: I adjusted the “Proficient” to be at 85%. Therefore, if a student gets all proficients, they earn a B in my class (whatever that means… wow this is all so very subjective even though for so long I pretended like it wasn’t.)
Student is Proficient in Half the Standards
Expectation: I really don’t think this student should pass.
Reasoning: I want to raise my expectations of the students and expect them to become proficient in over well over half of the standards. However, if I simply calculated percentages from the fractions: 1/4, 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4, then in order for a student to pass, they would need at least 4/5 of their standards to be at “Proficient” AND the remaining ones to be at “Developing”. As much as I hate to admit it, this may be a little unrealistic, especially as I will be reassessing my students for retaining of the content.
Result: Because “Proficient” is at 85%, I moved “Developing” down to only 40%. This requires that at least 2/3 of the standards be “Proficient” AND the rest be at “Developing”.
Student gets Several Standards at “Mastery” but Completely (or Mostly) Ignores Other Content
Expectation: I don’t want students to earn an A and then give up on other content.
Reasoning: First of all, I’m going to try to make getting “Mastery” fairly difficult for the average student, depending on the standard. However, I would feel guilty making
Result: I moved “Beginning” down to 20% and “Mastery” down to 96%. Another thing you should know about our school is that we use the +/- scale, so some of our students are constantly chasing down A’s, instead of A-‘s. These percentages would essentially require that a student who wants an A would have to get “Mastery” in nearly all of the standards, and get “Proficient” in the rest: a difficult task, but not impossible.
And so I’ve decided to follow these guidelines when converting my SBG levels to letter grades: 
1 = “Beginning” = 20%
2 = “Developing” = 40%
3 = “Proficient” = 85%
4 = “Mastery” = 96%
Did I approach this decision the right way? Should I have created percentages and then graded based on those–adjusting how difficult or easy each level is?
Oh, and I am not planning on sharing this information openly with students (yes, I’m aware it’s on my blog ), though hopefully I will be able to defend my decisions against the administration/parents if any issues arise.
 One thing I don’t like about this is that I’ve made it impossible to get a 100% on the standards. Is that unethical? Or have I been in the industrial-revolution non-SBG world too long?
 It’s too bad I can’t just report in SBG, but students, parents, and colleges are used to traditional letter grades, so I understand that the system won’t change overnight. Here’s to hoping it does change one day.
 I’m fairly certain that most of my students would not even know how to find this blog, let alone care that it’s here. If I ever have to move schools, however, there will be some posts I might have to remove or edit because other students may be a bit more tech savvy.