Monday, June 23, 2014

Learning Target Based Grading

I've gotten a few emails/comments regarding my grading system so I figured I'd make a post about it! At my school, we operate on a Mastery grading system where students must receive a 90% in each class in order to move on (as well as eventually take free college courses). I really like this in the math department because we so often see kids move on without fully grasping the basics and then they perpetuate the problem and make hiccups later on because they aren't solid on PEMDAS or struggle with Quadratics.

That being said, I grade each of my units based upon Mastery in EACH Learning Target. Now, what exactly in a learning target? For me, a learning target is simply the concept that I teach in that particular unit. Some units have more than others and thus, the unit takes longer to teach. Overall, I do try to balance (point wise) the distribution amongst the learning targets and sometimes weight learning targets more heavily based upon their importance.

On the top of each of my tests, children have a chart where each learning target is listed with a few other columns. In the points column, I record the points and their percentage for each kid. Based upon this score, I grant mastery on that Learning Target to the child. Ideally, children receive mastery in each of these Learning Targets. If they do not, this is when they need to complete remediation in order to retest. After the retest, I record this score in the same column on the original test and will again, reevaluate whether Mastery has been received.

Learning Target:  I can…
Points / % (Test)
% (Retake)
1. Graph and solve a linear inequality in one variable on a number line.
      / 10 = _____%

2. Graph and solve compound inequalities containing “and” and “or” on a number line.
      / 10 = _____%

3. Solve linear inequalities containing absolute value
      / 20 = _____%

4. Write and graph linear equations in standard form and slope-intercept form when given two points, a point and the slope, or the graph of the equation.
      / 20 = _____%

5. Graph linear inequalities in standard form and slope intercept form.
      / 20 = _____%

6. Solve systems of two linear equations using various methods.
      / 20 = _____%

Overall, the feedback that I get back from the kids is that they like the Learning Target system (especially because of remediation) because it does reward them for knowing concepts and then it requires that they revisit the ones that they are weak in. I also like it because it catches them on the silly errors they make algebraically. They really hate missing a learning target because of a "silly."

Hopefully, this cleared up a few things about our grading system. As always, let me know if you have any questions or concerns!


  1. I really love that idea and I think eventually my math department will have to go to something like this. I am really curious about the amount of time it takes to grade tests and to give remediation. Is the remediation done in the classroom or before/after school? BTW I love your blog! I am constantly talking about all the neat activities I find on here to my teacher friends.

    1. For me, grading tests doesn't take all that long. I typically will grade one learning target for all students at once, similar to how many teachers do a page at once. If you have the learning targets separated by pages, it's not that bad and it's just a different place to mark the point total :)

      For remediation, this is actually a process that the kids primarily do at home. I do offer an in class opportunity for remediation, but I prefer the kids use it to take their retest. Otherwise, I don't spend much time, if at all, doing remediation with the kids. One of the requirements for me is office hours so I typically will see kids then working on remediation.

      Here's a post that I did last summer on the topic... I probably need to update it as I now use a more organized form.

      Thanks for promoting the blog! I appreciate the kind thoughts!

  2. Very interesting. I have a few questions. Did this seem to go smoothly for you and the students last year? What is your criteria for mastery for each learning target? Is it based on percentage? Does it change for each learning target? Do you assess each learning target on an individual test or quiz or do you assess the unit altogether and grade the learning targets individually? Thanks

    1. In terms of going smoothly last year, my kids were very well aware of which learning targets they did and did not mastery and thus, they were very well aware of which homework assignments/remediation assignments they were expected to complete and turn in. Each of these assignments were also labeled by learning target, so again, it becomes accountability on the students' shoulder. Thus, why I also require kids to retest all learning targets if they lose their test.

      For each learning target, the way to earn mastery is by getting a 90% on the learning target. For each concept, the questions and points will vary so it's very test dependent how the kids can get to a 90%. In some cases, if they miss one question, they don't get their 90% and then they typically aren't too thrilled. Because my school runs on a mastery system, 90% for all concepts, each learning target/test must be at a 90% in order to move on.

      For the assessments, I do unit tests which assess all the learning targets. Now, in some cases, I've done a quiz for an individual learning target when I feel that the unit is too long as it is, aka, linear programming typically gets assessed separately.

      Hopefully this has helped a bit!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...