EduCon Resources: Standards Based Grading for Social Studies.

There was a lot of interest in my last post about Standards Based Grading and Reporting at SLA, so I thought I would share more from that session from different disciplines.

I should also mention that, while these standards were developed at SLA as a kind of pre-emptive response to Common Core, they were more heavily based on the written standards of our respective professional organizations than CCSS. English teachers, for example, pulled from the NCTE standards.

Additionally, we are in our second year of implementing standards-based systems at the school, and the process is definitely still being tinkered with (as all good educational systems are). Below are the five categories that our history discipline uses in their classes. Note that it overlaps two categories with English — “Discussion” and “Research.” Science uses “Research” as well. Should we streamline our language across disciplines? Or maybe make them less similar, to emphasize the difference in each version of the skill? Is it a problem that “research” is also one of our school’s core values, but other values on that list aren’t included as categories for standards?

Just a few questions to get your brain started. I feel very lucky to be in an educational setting where we get to tackle these ideas. Without any further ado:

History Standards

The SLA History department focuses on five main areas for the standards at each grade level: Sources, Research, Perspective, Discussion and Content.  Throughout the four years at SLA the skills gained in one grade spiral forward to the next course.  By graduation, the goal is for students to develop the ability to effectively analyze primary source documents, research independently, express the impact of perspective and bias in history, meaningfully contribute to classroom discussions, and evaluate the connections between the modern world and history.  Assessments for this work are embedded within the day-to-day coursework, as well as within the quarterly benchmarks.

Grade 9 Grade 10 Grade 11 Grade 12
Sources Student can analyze a variety of source documents including visual representations of information. Same  Same  Same 
Research

 

Student is making progress in producing independent research-based projects. Student can construct independent research-based projects. Student can independently locate a variety of sources to effectively incorporate into research-based projects. Student can independently locate a variety of sources to effectively incorporate into research-based projects.
Perspective Student seeks to understand and fairly present the ideas of others, even when they disagree with the point(s) being made. Student can begin to express the impact of perspective/bias in history.  Student can express the impact of perspective/bias in history.  Student can express the impact of perspective/bias in evaluating political systems. 
Discussion Student consistently presents his/her own idea(s) in a constructive and useful manner.  In daily class activities, student can represent their ideas (all class discussion, online forums, small group, etc.) on history using sources to back up their contentions. Same  Same 
Content Student uses the content of the class to explore and expand their understanding of the world.  Student uses the class content as a medium to build understandings and make connections between both various systems and the past and present. Student can evaluate connections between the modern world and American History.  Student can evaluate connections between the modern world and the basic elements of political theory. 
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2 thoughts on “EduCon Resources: Standards Based Grading for Social Studies.

  1. Rabiya

    I really like this framework. I like the idea of the overlapping categories with other subjects, but then I also agree there needs to be additional way to define what those skills look like in each discipline. I would want to add in more about the geography, economics, and other aspects of history/social studies besides political systems. Also, it seems assumed in the Content category that students already know and retain basic content about historical terms and geographical locations, whereas I find teaching for retention of a strong foundation of basic world knowledge to be a feat in and of itself. I would love to hear more about how standards based grading looks in the logistics of assessments (particularly common assessments between teachers), report cards, and promotion to the next grade. Our school is considering standards based grading systems, and I hope the changes we make will be meaningful like it looks like at SLA rather than just trendy.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: What Motivates Students to Get Good Grades? | Jumbled Mumbling & Fumbled Rumbling

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