World Language Classroom

Standards-Based Grading

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Episode notes

Are your assessments and grades in your classes a reflection of what students are able to do with the target language? Are the communication modes in there?  Are there parts of your grade that are based on compliance to rules and routines? In this episode I am going to look into what grading based on standards in a proficiency based classroom looks like.  And once again, luckily there is a very useful chapter on this topic in the newly published book “Honing Our Craft.”  It gives us all the info we need to engage with “Standards-Based Grading for Proficiency-Based Language Instruction."  That’s actually the title of chapter 7. 

Honing Our Craft

  • Edited by Dr. Florecia Henshaw (Director of Advanced Spanish at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) & Dr. Kim Potowski (Professor of Spanish Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago)
  • 12 chapters written by educators for educators
  • Use this link and the discount code JOSHUA25HOC to save 25% on the book.

Standards-Based Grading for Proficiency-Based Language Instruction

Put Standards-Based Grading in Context

  • Traditional grading system:
    • Variability in what exactly counts towards the percentage average of a traditional grade. 
  • 3 Core Principles of Standards-Based Grading
    • Focus should be on mastery of specific skills
    • Multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning 
    • Separate factors such as behavior, punctuality, homework completion and extra credit

Key Terms and Misconceptions

  • Proficiency: language ability in the real world, unscripted, without practice
  • Performance: can do with practice in an educational setting. 
  • Mastery: highest level
  • SBG can be used with any set of standards
  • Rubrics: core principle of SBG to provide feedback for revision and multiple attempts to demonstrate learning.
  • Multiple attempts to demonstrate learning
  • System in place to have retake opportunities: practice, formative, HW, meet with teacher.
  • Grading behaviors unrelated to mastery
  • Removes opportunity for implicit bias.


  • Focus on...
    • Standards and create rubric accordingly
    • Differentiation
    •  Feedback and the iterative process
    • Formative and summative assessments 
  • Do…
    • Plan units around your learning goals
    • Collaborate with colleagues for common rubrics, assessment and learning goals (standards)
    • Plan for reassessments and retakes (ad

Use this link and the discount code JOSHUA25HOC to save 25% on the book.

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