Grading for Learning: High School Level

For the past several years, the Appleton Area School District has studied methods of grading that more accurately reflect and report student learning. This work has resulted in a standards-based approach that we call Grading for Learning. We believe this will assist our teachers to authentically and accurately communicate student  achievement on the identified course standards.

Standards-based grading: 

  • clarifies learning goals/targets,  
  • clearly identifies success criteria for learning goals/targets
  • states clear indications of student strength/weaknesses,  
  • provides information on career and life skills, and
  • supports instructional practices that maximize student motivation.  

Standards-based instruction and grading continues and maintains information collected for promotion, graduation, athletic eligibility, awards, honors, reports to the community and employers, college acceptance, scholarships, and entrance to vocational programs.

Pilot Courses

During the 2017-2018 school year, select courses have been using a standards-based instruction and assessment model that involves rubrics to measure students' proficiency on well-defined course standards.

The cumulative scores on these rubrics are then converted to traditional letter grades. 

Student work will continue to culminate in an academic letter grade representing the student’s learning in the class, just as in years past. This grade will appear in Infinite Campus at the end of each reporting period.

Pilot Course Grading Scale

A standards-based instructional system incorporates principles of learning and grading that includes mathematical accuracy when implementing a 4-point evaluation system. AASD reviewed a variety of grading scales and determined that the scale below best supports grading students on a 4-point proficiency scale.

Letter Grade GPA Range
GPA Range
A+ 4.0 3.80
A 3.79 3.50 
A- 3.49  3.20 
B+ 3.19  2.90 
B 2.89 2.60
B- 2.59 2.40
C+ 2.39 2.10
C 2.09 1.80
C- 1.79 1.60
D+ 1.59 1.30
D 1.29 1.00
D- .99 .80
F .79 0

Marking Student Work-Proficiency Levels in Standards-Based Grading

Insufficient Evidence
A student at the mastery level is able to apply and adapt to new situations or real-world situations outside of the context in which it was taught. The student demonstrates a level of understanding that seamlessly connects related or previously explored concepts.
A student demonstrates competence within the standards. While the student has not yet consistently achieved more advanced demonstrations, the student has fully met the expectations of the content standard.
A student has basic conceptual understanding of the content standard but needs scaffolded practice to apply it.
A student is not yet able to demonstrate understanding of the specific grade level/course level standards.
A student has not yet submitted the requisite amount of evidence to justify a passing level. Either whole pieces of evidence are missing or the submitted evidence is incomplete.

Example of English Language Arts Proficiency Rubric

The pilot teachers will provide feedback on a Career and Life Skills rubric which assesses the skills, dispositions, and attitudes students bring to their school work.

High School Career and Life Skills Rubric

AASD High School Career and Life Skills Rubric

This feedback, while not factored into the student’s grade point average, will indicate areas of strength and opportunities for growth and provide parents with additional information on the student. 

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