Friday, December 14, 2018

A Non-Expert Based Opinion About SBG

The district I work for is in the final year of implementing SBG across all grade levels, K-8. I am admittedly still learning about SBG, so it is entirely possible I have no ever loving clue what I am talking about. I was skeptical about SBG at first -- not the learning, but the grading. SBL has been happening in some way, shape, or form for as long as I've been teaching, but SBG, especially in upper grade levels, not so much. But here's the epiphany I had that made me think it might be something good:

My daughter struggled mightily with math in high school. It was rough waters her freshman year, hurricane her sophomore year, and a full on tsunami her junior year. I refused to let her take a math class her senior year lest she fail and not be able to graduate. She had enough math credits to graduate, so despite how much it pissed off her counselor, I kept her out of pre-calc her senior year. Instead, I opted to have her get caught up in math through Kumon Learning Center (they were a Godsend, if I'm being honest). One the problems I ran into with her math teachers is they couldn't tell me where her holes or weaknesses were, and one teacher actually told me he didn't have the time to figure it out and help her. I was grateful for that honesty -- I knew I was on my own to figure out how to help her.

As I've learned about SBG, it had dawned on me that this would have been so helpful for my daughter in high school. I could have had a better idea where she was struggling instead of just assuming she sucked at all of it.

An added benefit might have been less of a blow to her self-esteem. My daughter was convinced she wouldn't get into college because of her grades (she did get into college, AND she graduated, AND she got a good job after graduation). By using SBG, there is less of a stigma associated with the labels used (in my district, they are EPAL -- Exceeds, Proficient, Approaching, Limited). None of them are clearly an A, B, C, D, or F, so maybe she would have seen herself as lacking or weak in math instead of stupid (she idled in the D range for a lot of math).

I've got zero research to use, and I have zero expertise in this topic, but when using my kid as an example, I gotta say, I see some merit.

1 comment:

  1. When I first started teaching, I taught in an SBG district. Everything you stated about knowing exactly where the holes and weaknesses are is so very true! Moving to a district that does not use SBG was a difficult shift. I had never known anything else. Many conversations revolve around whether or not students complete homework, but not what students need to work on or how students can improve their learning. There is plenty of research out there to support SBG; I love that you see the personal connection!