Standards-based grading combines updated instructional practices and culture from traditional dictation systems to better engage students and to foster a positive learning environment. In traditional educational systems, teachers focus majorly on teaching and consequently an attempt to deliver knowledge to students in the best way possible as instructions that will help students acquire important life skills. Each of these “learning targets” is a concepting teaching that students are master by that of the course. Higher completion rates for students was interpreted as a good mastery of the subject and students can earn higher grades by completing most of the work. The traditional grading scale had the letters of the alphabet A, B, C, D and F to differentiate students in the ranks. The standards-based grading system has numbers 1 to 4 as points from which the instructor can choose how well a student has mastered a subject. The grading system is advantageous as it gives average and low performing students a chance to be high achievers by the instructor adopting the teaching style to better suit them. This enables the students to continue working and learning until they are able to achieve the target and is therefore viewed as a ladder where students climb up, one rung at the time, and eventually reached the top. Teachers filling the gap by giving regular feedback, reteaching the misunderstood subject and offering additional opportunities for students to perform better in the grading ladder. This makes standards-based grading a very powerful tool because it provides a framework to regularly measure student’s progress.
In environments that harbour standards-based grading, it is noted that better feedback from the teachers accelerates student learning. Traditional grading methods discriminated students with a low work rate and the teachers cannot sufficiently know how to improve the students as they will force them to adopt to the teaching system of which not all of them will respond well to. This grading system allows students to better understand the path to success and enables them to perform better and engaging their learning. They can further identify the areas of improvement and self-direct activities.
Standard-based grading systems neutralize this problem as the teachers will know which students are in level 1, 2 or 3 and enables the instructor to offer a level appropriate work to improve the students. Students therefore learn more because of the improvement in the use of instructional time and this enables greater academic progress.
Standards-based grading is focused on learning and mastery which gives students a motivation to learn. In traditional grading systems students with fewer mistakes and the highest grades and depending on the type of the mistake, it is impossible to recover and a good grade if a student doesn’t fit well in the instructional system.