Standards based grading

At the start of the 2015-2016 school year, Aki Kurose middle school staff are continuing to transition their grading practices to a standards-based approach. We are continuing this transition because we believe that grades should reflect student learning, not effort and participation. This will allow us to use grades to determine if students are meeting grade level standards and expectations. Below is a comparison between standards-based grading and traditional grading practices.

Standards Based Grading:

  • Participation and effort are graded in citizenship separately from content area grades. The two are never averaged together.
  • A point scale is used to grade each test or assignment to reflect student mastery of the standard.
  • Assessments and final projects are weighted more than in class work and homework.
  • A letter C means a student is passing, but approaching a grade level standard. The student needs additional support or practice when receiving a C. The letter grade does not reflect a comparison to other students, but rather a measurement of how close students are to mastering the skills and content taught in the course.

Traditional Grading:

  • Emphasizes participation and effort when assigning a grade
  • Uses percents to report student achievement for an individual assignment
  • Homework and classroom is heavily weighted in the grade book instead of quizzes and tests
  • A letter grade C is passing and equates to "average" engagement in learning; so that means that a student, when compared to other students in the same cohort, is putting out an average amount of effort to learn.

The staff decided to focus on adjusting their grading practices for multiple reasons. The new standards based approach better reflects student mastery of grade level standards than the traditional method. This will allow staff, students, and families to better understand how many of the grade level standards students know. Standards based grading should also help us better align our practices from class to class so that an “A” in one class means the same thing as an “A” in another. The middle school received funding this year through the Seattle Families and Education Levy grant which is supporting aligning grading practices in the middle school.

Assignments will be graded using the scale shown below. The goal is for students to be at standard, which means receiving at least a B.


Report Card Letter Grade: A
Meaning: Above/Mastery of Standard
%: 100
Class Room Mark: 4
The Source will show: 4a

Report Card Letter Grade: B
Meaning: At Standard
%: 88-99
Class Room Mark: 3
The Source will show: 3b

Report Card Letter Grade: C
Meaning: Approaching Standard
%: 77-87
Class Room Mark: 2
The Source will show: 2c

Report Card Letter Grade: C-
Meaning: Approaching Standard
%: 70-76
Class Room Mark: 2-
The Source will show: 2c-

Report Card Letter Grade: D
Meaning: Beginning Standard
%: 60-69
Class Room Mark: 1
The Source will show: 1d

Report Card Letter Grade: E
Meaning: Missing Assignment/Incomplete/No Evidence Collected
%: 50-59
Class Room Mark: 0
The Source will show: 0


Ways you can support your child:

  • Check the Source and with your child each evening to see if they have completed their homework. While homework is weighted less, it is where students are able to practice skills and standards. Students who do not practice outside of school have a harder time mastering the standards.
  • Regularly check your child's grades on the source, create a plan for any retakes on assessments.
  • Contact individual teachers with questions regarding your child's grades.

If you have additional questions about this transition to a standards based grading process please contact Ms. Williams at 206-252-7700.

Thank you for your support as Aki Kurose middle school continues to work to bring success for each student.

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