Mastery Based Grading Policy

Project Based Learning

At UA Maker Academy all of our units are project or problem-based. For us, that means that each unit begins with an entry event that invites students to plan out their learning. It tells students what their performance task, benchmarks, and key activities that they will be completing are and when they are due. Overall, the entry event is returned to throughout the unit as a place to reflect on knows, need to knows, and next steps. Knows, need to knows, and next steps should drive the unit. More resources to support developing project based learning units can be found at http://www.bie.org

Performance Tasks

A Performance Task at UA Maker is a multi-step learning process that engages students to create defendable deliverables through interdisciplinary, real world application. Teachers should utilize resources at redesignu.org for assistance in planning performance tasks.

Performance Tasks should include:

  • Real world/domain specific application
  • Multiple standards
  • Explicit stages of Design Thinking
  • Opportunity for student reflection and revision
  • Benchmarks with deadlines
  • Plan for giving timely feedback to students

Benchmarks

A benchmark assesses standards that have been practiced previously in the unit. These benchmarks are part of and/or prepare students to complete the performance task. Within a unit, each standard that will be on the performance task must be assessed on at least one benchmark.

Developments

A development is an opportunity for students practice and receive feedback on their mastery of a standard that will be necessary for future benchmarks and performance tasks. Within a unit, each standard that will be on the performance task must be assessed on at least one development.  

Mastery-Based Grading Policy

Course Standards

Academic Content Knowledge and Skills
Each course has 10-20 standards on discrete content knowledge and skills we expect students to master. These content standards are based on the New York State, Common Core Standards, Industry Standards, and Next Gen Science standards.

Design Thinking
We have developed a shared, school-wide Design Thinking rubric with specific assessment standards for 5 stages: Discover, Define, Design, Develop, Deliver. Each course includes these 5 standards under the habits section in JumpRope gradebooks. 

Core Values
We have developed a shared, school-wide set of Core Values to set expectations for students’ academic and personal behaviors for 5 values: Curiosity, Empathy, Risk Taking, Self-Awareness, and Resilience. Each course includes these 5 standards under the habits section in JumpRope gradebooks. 

Frequency of Assessment Types

Developments
For each standard, students must be assigned at least 1 development and receive feedback on it before a benchmark is given on that standard. Teachers enter mastery scores for all developments in JumpRope. This data should be used to determine student readiness for later assessments and plan instruction to address gaps in student skills.  

Benchmarks and Performance Tasks
For each standard, students must be assigned at least 1 benchmark and receive feedback on it before a performance task is given on that standard. Over the course of the term, each standard must be assessed on at least 3 benchmarks or performance tasks.

Grade Calculation

Standard Mastery
Student mastery of each individual standard is calculated using a Power Law which is a time and trend based calculation. The algorithm takes into account both the chronological order and the general trend of the full set of scores on that standard (increasing, decreasing, varying, etc.). At least 3 assessments of the standard must be entered for the Power Law to calculate a mastery grade. If less than 3 scores have been entered, the most recent score will be output as the overall score. If only developments/formative assessments have been entered, JumpRope uses the Power Law to predict the standard mastery level. Once a summative assessment (benchmark or performance task) is entered for the standard, JumpRope displays the score on that assignment as the standard mastery level and no longer considers the developments in the standard mastery calculation. When 3 or more benchmarks or performance tasks have been entered for the standard, JumpRope calculates the standard mastery level using the Power Law on only these summative assessments. This calculation method recognizes growth and doesn’t penalize students for low scores early in the learning. As a result of this calculation method, teachers do not need to set assessment weights beyond selecting if the assessment is a development, benchmark, or performance task.

Academic Content
These standards are weighted to count for 80% of the overall grade for a course. 

Habits: Design Thinking and Core Values
These standards are weighted to count for 20% of the overall grade for a course.

Grading Scale
All assessments are scored on a 1-4 scale using a common rubric across all standards. 

  • 4: In addition to Score 3 performance, in-depth inferences and applications that go beyond what was taught.
  • 3: No errors or omissions regarding any of the information and/or processes (simple or complex) that were explicitly taught.
  • 2: No major errors or omissions regarding the simpler details and processes but major errors or omissions regarding the more complex ideas and processes.
  • 1: With help, a partial understanding of some of the simpler details and processes and some of the more complex ideas and processes.

Overall Grade Calculation
While all of our scores are on a 1-4 scale, we do calculate a converted numeric grade (on a 1-100 scale) for student transcripts. We use the following grade conversions:

  • 4 = 100
  • 3 = 85
  • 2 = 70
  • 1 = 55

Missing Work

  • Developments: These formative assessments typically take no more than a class period to complete and are primarily used for teachers and students to monitor progress throughout the learning process. If a student is absent or does not turn in one of these assessments, we do not have any evidence of their level of mastery on the given standards. For these assessments, the teacher enters a mark of M on Jumprope for all content and design thinking standards. This mark of M will alert the student that they are missing work but will not impact the student’s mastery grade for that standard. 
  • Project Benchmarks and Performance Tasks: Each unit involves a performance task where students demonstrate their mastery of the unit standards and several benchmarks that are critical for the successful completion of the performance task. These assignments typically assess several standards and require students to apply their learning across multiple lessons. Therefore these assessments are really important for students to complete if they are missing. For these assessments, the teacher enters a mark of X on JumpRope for all standards. This mark of X will alert the student that they are missing work and will negatively impact the student’s mastery grade for the standards. 

Revisions    
Students are encouraged to use their feedback to revise their work and improve their mastery of standards. Teachers should make all assessments available for students to either revise or complete a reassessment (such as a quiz on the same math standard but new questions). Along with their revised work, students also submit a grade improvement request reflecting on the level their new work meets and identifying the evidence in their work that justifies receiving that level. If their work and request meets expectations, the teacher will revise the student’s grade on JumpRope. 

Late Work
Students are expected to submit all assignments by the date posted on JumpRope and Google Classroom. Late work is not accepted after the due date. Exceptions may be made for students with a documented reason for missing the deadline.
 

2018-2019 Grading Timeline

  • Marking Period 1: September 5 - October 19
  • Marking Period 2: October 22 - December 4
  • Marking Period 3: December 5 - January 18
  • January 23 - Final Grades for Fall Semester Courses entered 
  • Marking Period 4: January 29 - March 15
  • Marking Period 5: March 18 - May 3
  • Marking Period 6: May 6 - June 18
    • May 31 - All Units End, Assessments assigned after this date are designed to improve student mastery grades only
    • June 18 - Final Grades for Year-long and Spring Semester Courses entered