Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Revised SBG Scale

I have been pondering this on and off over the last week, and even though I am on vacation, I need to flesh this out some more. I started revising my SBG scale and I am stuck. I have posted twice about why I am changing this summer (here and here). I have figured out what changes I am going to make, but I am struggling finishing it up. Here is what I used to do and what I am going to do this year (same document):

I took most of my descriptions from Lauren DeReche's post - I liked the simplicity and clarity. I hope that will help clear up some questions. However, as I have looked at people's descriptions, they have been using a 4 point scale and I'm just not comfortable with doing that. So I am sticking with my 5 point scale. I am struggling with what to name level 4 and 5. At the moment, I have "Mastery" for 5 but I am considering "Master" for 4 and "Expert" for 5. The "Limited," "Basic", and "Proficient" all came from what we use in Ohio for the state test scores. The upper two levels are "Accelerated" and "Advanced." I didn't like those for what I was doing here. The 4.5 level, I think I am going to call ____ Plus (whatever I name the 4 level). I only give the 4.5 if they make one minor arithmetic mistake but have the concept.

Please help! I need names for 4 and 5 as well as confirmation that my descriptors make sense. As always, leave what you got in the comments. Thanks in advance for your help!


Simplifying Radicals said...

Here's how I handle SBG

James Cleveland said...

Why shouldn't 4 be Proficient? 3 of 4 being proficient makes sense, but not 3 of 5.

I use Novice, Apprentice, Journeyman, Proficient, Master. If you made proficient 4, then 3 could be Intermediate (goes with basic).

Lisa said...

I don't want to change from a 5 point scale. Percentage wise, 80% (C) seems fair for proficient - I am trying to clarify degrees of proficient, I guess. If I make the 4 proficient, that's a 90% (B), where an A at my school is 93%. I don't think I like the message that a "B" is considered proficient and a "C" is not.

Math Teacher said...

... Apparently I'm a robot since my first post didn't go through...

I think making 5 "Expert" makes the most sense, especially with the addition "I can help others". Then 4 would be Master and 4.5 Master Plus. You might also consider not putting 4.5 on the rubric, but having that be understood by the students that if they only make one small mistake they will get a 4.5.

Other than a few typos your descriptions have good modifications! Of course I'm a little biased :)

Steve Grossberg said...

You might consider Competent for 3 and Proficient for 4. I like Expert for 5. I got the idea from http://www.doceo.co.uk/background/expertise.htm

Even though Competent doesn't line up with the OH testing categories, it makes sense to me to call a C student Competent, while a B student is Proficient. My C students *aren't* Proficient, by and large, but I would call them Competent.

I agree with Math Teacher's suggestion that you leave 4.5 off of the rubric. You could also change the wording of 4 to "I make some minor mistakes or a major mistake..." This gives you more flexibility in assigning 4 or 4.5 (which perhaps you don't want?), and blends better with the rest of your rubric, which does not use numbers (except for 4.5, which again I would remove).

On a different note, have you considered giving 50% for no attempt? I've read a few things here and there about this. You're trying to force a category-based grading system into a percentage-based system, and that condemns the student who doesn't do one assignment but is Expert at the next one to still average out at failing. Is a student who doesn't even know how to start a problem correctly really 60% better than a student who didn't do it at all? The distance from 0 to 1 should not be appreciably different, in my view, from the distance between 1 and 2, or 4 and 5 for that matter. And if a student does nothing, they get 50% (whatever that means), but they still fail the class, as well they should.

I use a 4-point scale for assignments and tests (in other words, all of the grades in my grade book are 0 to 4), and have D=25%, C=45%, B=65%, and A=85% for overall grades. I wouldn't even bother with the percentages except that the software my whole school uses to post grades online spits out a percentage no matter what I do. It doesn't sound like you have this flexibility at your school, and parents do find it bizarre at first, but when I look at my students' grades at the end of a term, they match up well with what they know how to do.

Last, small point: Your tagline should read "I have taught for 20 years..."

Lisa said...

Math Teacher - I definitely see the point you make about leaving the 4.5 off. I had actually put that in (partially) because I had seen the 3.5 level on the 4 point rubrics. Thanks for your suggestions!

Steve - Thanks for the comments. I like what you've added. I had given 50% for no attempt the last 2 years and last school year I had 2-3 students who ended up passing for the year that had no business passing. Those students had done just enough on other learning targets when they had not attempted anything on others and it just didn't balance out. I am very much on the fence on it and may well switch it back to 50%. You make valid points. Thanks for reminding me why I had chosen the 50% initially.


Sarah said...

After reading through the comments I lean toward


I would also leave off the 4.5.

In the past I've used a 4 point scale. Not sure which direction I'm going to go this year.

Anonymous said...

I like a 4-point scale, because it's forced me to make some clear distinctions on student work as opposed to points (I'm one of those who would give a 2.375, if something didn't ride herd on me). It also fits well with our grading scale of A=90-100 (4), B=80-89 (3.5), C=70-79 (3), F=0-69 (0-2). I go back and forth on whether a 2 (50%) should be failing. My current position is that a 2 is kind of like a "high" failing, where the 1 is the "low failing.

I don't like the idea of 0=50% because, as you said, some students could end up passing who have no business doing so. My usual procedure is that if a student puts anything math-related on the problem, I give them a 1 (25%). Because they can reassess any objective, I don't feel too guilty about that, and it doesn't completely tank their grade if they don't.

Jamie said...


we were looking for some label changes as well and stole from you guys above.

You mentioned the 50% as a 1 seemed to have some kids pass that should not. The scale and rubric we (Melissa, her student teacher, her co-teacher and I) developed last year and plan to use this year is not simple like what a lot of you have. We went with it because it helped to clarify for us what each scale on the rubic is. There were also some other reasons for the shall we say "expanded" rubric that I will have to start a post about. We meshed it together from a couple of different sources. Again, I need to post about it so I can cite them.

Anyhow, we felt like we did not have any issues of "why is this kid passing when he/she shouldn't". Here is our rubric

Lisa said...

Jamie - Thanks for sharing! I look forward to your blog post on your expanded rubric - it does look interesting. I am intrigued by your percentages you assign to 1, 2, and 3 - I may look to something like that in the future.

I did go with the 0 level being 50% - at the beginning of the year our principal has told us we are not to give a 9 weeks grade lower than 50% and when I make the 0 level a 50%, that does work out rather nicely.

Thanks for sharing! --Lisa