(507) 477-3235 9 Sixth Ave SE, Hayfield, MN 55940

Laura Hoebing

High School English Teacher

Standards-Based Grading

I will be utilizing Standards-Based Grading in English 11. Below is the information sent to parents explaining this grading system:


This year, three teachers in the middle and high school will be piloting a grading system for certain classes that is different from the “Grading for Learning” policy the school has used for the past several years. The new system is called “Standards-Based Grading,” and although it is new to our district, it has been used for several years and with great success in many schools throughout the U.S. and the world. In fact, research shows it to be more effective than traditional grading practices, which is why we are excited to explore this system with our students. You are receiving this letter because your child is enrolled in FACS 7 or Child Development (Jana Wagner), English 11 (Laura Hoebing), or Science 6 (Danielle Tesmer), which are the four courses piloting a Standards-Based Grading policy. This letter aims to briefly explain the reasoning behind Standards-Based Grading and avoid confusion about grades later in the school year. 

As the name implies, Standards-Based Grading will assess students’ skills and knowledge in relation to the specific Minnesota State Standards for that particular grade level and content area. All teachers teach these standards regardless of the grading system they use, but Standards-Based Grading seeks to make learning more apparent by showing a students’ level of understanding for each individual standard. Instead of seeing individual assignments in the gradebook, you will see each standard in the summative category broken down into smaller learning targets. Explanations of these standards and targets will be found on each teacher’s web page. These standards will have a similar feel to the “I can…” statements used on K-3rd grade report cards. Each learning target will be graded on a scale of 1-4, with scores of 3 or 4 considered “passing”: 

Scale Score  Criteria  Student-friendly language 
4- Mastery  Student has fully demonstrated content proficiency and skill application of the outcomes for the particular target at this point in the school year.  I’ve got it! I can teach this to another person 
3.5-Proficient  Student has demonstrated content proficiency and skill application, although there may be a few minor errors.  I’ve got it, but I’m not confident I could teach it. 
3- Approaching  Student has demonstrated partial proficiency and emerging skill application with minor errors.  Almost got it. 
2- Developing  Student has demonstrated major gaps in understanding core content.  I still have questions. 
1-Beginning  Student has demonstrated weak or no understanding of core content.  I am completely confused. 
0-No Evidence  Student has not demonstrated any attempt to understand content.  No effort. 


As students continue to work on the learning targets and standards throughout the year, their scores will be updated to reflect their most recent level of understanding. These scores will not be averaged, so students’ scores will fully reflect their improvement rather than punishing them from starting out with a low score.  

Standards-based grading also has students assess and reassess their learning more frequently.  Students can retake any portion that is assessed below a 3 by filling out reassessment ticket.  Students will need to reflect on their performance and then provide evidence of independent remedial work to prepare for reassessment.  All formative practice also needs to be finished before reassessment. Reassessment is expected only for targets/sections not considered passing (0-2), but all students will have the option of reassessing until they reach a 4. 


Formative assignments (daily practice) will still be used, and will be scored as one point for completed practice, and zero for insufficient effort. Formative assignments that are not turned in on or before the due date will receive a score of LI until the assignment is handed in, at which time it will become a zero. While the student will not receive a point for the assignment, it still must be done before a student is allowed to retake a related summative assignment. 

Here are some reference websites and materials if you would like more information about the rationale, evidence of success, and implementation of Standards-Based Grading in other schools: 







Any questions can be directed to your child’s teacher, Mr. Howe, or Mr. Klennert. We look forward to working with your students this year!