SBG #Fail

Today I gave up on SBG.


  1. Why? What, if anything, changed? What was the breaking point?

  2. No one was interested in retesting.

    I don't think I was giving the right feedback often enough.

    I'm not sure what else. I just know we were tracking our progress or no reason. No one cared to improve or find out what they were doing wrong. So tracking just became an extra chore.

    The breaking point was the first semester ending with no change. I decided not to beat myself up about it not working for the second semester.

  3. I had a similar issue, but at the end of the semester when I advertised what they needed to do to change their grade I saw improvement.

    Is there anything you think you could do to improve there desire to re-test?

  4. I initially thought "OH MY GOD."

    But then I remembered that it's just a grading system. If it's not working for you, then change it. Let us know what you try next, and what about it works for you.

    Sounds like part of the problem is student motivation. Tough nut to crack, unless you're getting a lot of outside help.

  5. Cheer up!

    I find that things usually work best for me when I discover them for myself through making incremental changes to my existing (working) systems. Things that work well for other teachers don't always work out for me, because ultimately we're different people and we connect with kids differently and we have different management styles. Maybe some day when you're really comfortable with everything else about teaching and are just looking for something to shake things up in your teaching approach, you would come back to SBG and find greater satisfaction/reward. Until then, there is no reason to beat yourself up about it. :)


  6. T. Banks,
    I thought failing would motivate them but apparently, it's no big deals. I'm not going to offer them candy and stickers to entice them to improve their scores. If they don't care about failing, then why should I?

    PS OF COURSE I CARE! Maybe I'm just not understanding my students well enough.

    What kind of outside help are you referring to? I have a couple ideas but not enough mojo to implement anything any time soon. Maybe next semester or next year or never.

    You are right I'm sure and people have told me that all along the way on this sbg journey but it is HARD for me to see how well it serves students and NOT do it. It's like finding the medicine that cures cancer but the patients won't take it because it tastes like liver. Yum.

  7. Hope it's not presumptuous of me .. but can I interest you in Andrew Martin's work on student engagement and motiviation? I wrote an post linking it to SBG on my blog at
    http://exzuberant.blogspot.com/2011/01/standards-based-grading-eliminating.html - if it rings true you might want to look at his ideas.

  8. enzuber,
    Not presumptuous at all. I'm always looking for more to learn, and especially about sbg. I read your post and it all makes perfect sense to me. In my post, I'm not doubting the merits of the sbg method, I'm doubting my ability to implement it correctly. SBG didn't fail me, I failed at sbg. I've read about sbg until my eyes crossed, for over a year and a half, but I just haven't made it work for me. But, there is always next year.

  9. I found this post from Fawn Nguyen's post about SBG. Have you gone back to SBG since this or abolished it entirely? I'm exploring the option of standards based, but I have the fear of your reality. Anything you can offer would be very helpful.

    1. I have done SBG for this entire school year. Students still don't want to retest often but I think next year I will start requiring anyone who scores a 0 or 1 on a standard to retest. I don't think that it will necessarily motivate students to retest but maybe to do better in the first place. I have had more students retest this year than in the year I wrote this post. Also, it has made my grading much easier. I created a holistic rubric but I will definitely be changing it for the next school year. I also plan to record my class averages for all standards and then compare that to my sores next year.

      You can click in my SBG label to the right with the 27 next to it to read more abut my SBG journey.

      Thanks for commenting!