Standards-Based GradeBook Calculations FAQ

Illuminate has two "types" of GradeBooks: the Points-Based GradeBook (the type most teachers are familiar with) and the relatively-new Standards-based GradeBook (SBGB). The Points-Based GradeBook calculates students' scores by calculating the points earned vs. points possible; this type of GradeBook can also use categories to apply various weights to the assignments/points earned. On the other hand, the SBGB focuses entirely on standards and is subject to a rubric-based grading scale. Below is an outline of the SBGB calculations.

What's Standards-Based Grading?

Standards-Based Grading measures your student's mastery of the essential standards for a class, or how well your student understands the material in class using a rubric value.

Why Are Calculations Important?

There are two "hierarchies" of calculations currently supported in the SGBG. One level is the "standard score," which represents the aggregate of a student's performance with a particular standard. The other level is the "overall score," which is representative of a student's performance acrossall standards (vs. just one). Below are some examples that should shed some light on how these two scores are calculated and the interaction between them.

A third "heirarchy" is when using Illuminate Report Cards. This is setup by those with permission, typically a Report Card or System Admin building report cards as appropriate.

Standard Score (Hierarchy 1):

Standard Score (Hierarchy 1):

This is the score given to a student for a singular standard. There are several calculations available at this "hierarchy." The table demonstrates how the same data set can result in differing scores for a student. 

Here is a brief explanation of each calculation:

  • Most-Recent: This is the student's most-recent score for a standard.
  • Maximum: This is the student's maximum score for a given standard.
  • Minimum: The inverse of the maximum score, this is the student's minimum value in the in the data set. 
  • Decaying Average (60% newest): This is the average of all the scores linked to a standard, but weighs the most-recent score at 60%.
  • Decaying Average (75% newest): This is the average of all the scores linked to a standard, but weighs the most-recent score at 75%.
  • Mean (Average): The average for the entire data set (without any weighting).
  • Median: The median is the numeric value separating the higher half of a sample data set from the lower half.
  • Power Law: This is a calculation based off of Marzano's work with standards-based grading. In essence, the power law formula predicts what the student’s next score will be based on scores already present. In my example you'll notice the scores show continuous improvement, which impacts his/her standard score.

Best practice tip would be to select Decaying Average (75% newest) or Power Law, when available.

Overall Score (Hierarchy 2):

Overall Score (Hierarchy 2):

Continuing with the same example, we'll now calculate a student's overall score. This is the score given to a student based on his/her performance across multiple standards. The formulas work the same at this level, but are computed using standard scores rather than individual assignment scores. You'll notice the decaying averages and Power Law are not available for the overall score.

  • Maximum: This is the student's maximum score across multiple standards
  • Minimum: The inverse of the maximum score, this is the student's minimum value in the in the data set across multiple standards
  • Mean (Average): The average for the entire data set (without any weighting) across multiple standards
  • Median: The median is the numeric value separating the higher half of a sample data set from the lower half, across multiple standards

Best practice tip would be to select Median.

(Optional) Report Card Score (Hierarchy 3):

Only for those Illuminate clients using Illuminate Report Cards and Standards-Based Gradebooks is there an additional calculation needed for Report Card linking. The Report Card Admin or System Administrator who sets up and builds report card, needs to establish a final calculation for reporting purposes.

Best practice would be to keep calculations consistant with practices supporting the district goals, including clear communication to teachers on supporting such outcomes in their grading procedures.

Please refer to your Implementation Manager for details and further discussion.

All decaying averages are compounding averages in the SBGB.

So, the 75% Decaying average works like this:

Let's say there are 4 assignments: 1, 2, 3, 4 (4 being the most-recent)

(1*.25) + (2*.75) = X 

(X*.25) + (3*.75) = Y

(Y*.25 + (4*.75) = Z (the current standard score)

And...

The 60% Decaying average works like this:

Let's say there are 4 assignments: 1, 2, 3, 4 (4 being the most-recent)

(1*.40) + (2*.60) = X 

(X*.40) + (3*.60) = Y

(Y*.40) + (4*.60) = Z (the current standard score)

Next Steps

Want to develop, provide, and explore professional development on Standards-Based Grading practices? Check out Formative Assessment and Standards-Based Grading\L and/or Classroom Assessment & Grading that Works by Dr. Robert Marzano. There are many other resources to support such a movement, but these are just a few.