• FAQs

    What is Standards-Referenced Grading (SRG)?

    In education, the term standards-referenced refers to instructional approaches that are aligned to learning standards —i.e., written descriptions of what students are expected to know and be able to do at a specific stage of their education. In other words, standards-referenced refers to the use of learning standards to guide what gets taught and assessed in schools.

    What are standards?

    Standards are statements about what students should know and be able to do within each content area, at each grade level. Our Kansas Curricular Standards can be found online here.

    How is standards-referenced grading different than what we're currently doing?

    Traditionally, many elements are combined to determine your child’s grade – test scores, quizzes, completed homework, classroom participation, coming to school on time, extra credit – then, the average of the quarter or semester’s work equates into a percentage for a grade.

    Standards-referenced grading separates those elements. Parents will be able to see specifically if their child needs help with an academic concept, or if he or she can’t remember to turn in homework.

    Standards-referenced grading measures a student’s mastery of grade-level standards by prioritizing the most recent, consistent level of performance.

    What are the advantages of SRG?

    Improved communication and additional feedback for parents, students and teachers - parents and students will see areas of academic strength and weaknesses in the grade book rather than seeing a test score or homework assignment and wondering what the next steps might be. Teachers will know which standards they need to re-teach. Students will know which standards they need additional learning opportunities and/or practice.

    How is the role of assessment different in this system?

    In a traditional grading system, student assessments were often given for the purpose of entering a score in the grade book. Assessments in an SRG system are given for the purpose of identifying future learning opportunities for students. ​

    What if students are currently working on standards/skills at a different grade level? How are proficiency scales and standards-referenced learning used?

    Progress for students in a specific grade level will be reported on the grade level progress report consisting of the standards associated with that grade level. If students are working on standards/scales from a different grade level, teachers will need to communicate progress on those standards via other resources separate from the grade level progress report.  

    When will this go into effect?

    Implementing standards-referenced grading district-wide is a process that is already under way. Teachers, principals, students, parents and district staff will be included throughout the process. Kindergarten through fifth grade will implement in the 2019-2020 school year. Prekindergarten and sixth through eighth grade will implement in 2020-2021, followed by high schools in 2021-2022.

    How will this affect students with special needs?

    Students with an IEP, 504, or English Language Learning needs will continue to receive the accommodations they are eligible to receive and they will continue to receive appropriate support and/or interventions. Students will continue to work on identified goals just as they have in the past. All teachers involved in a child's education will work collaboratively to report student progress. More information can be found here

    How do I understand the progress report my child brings home?

    Proficiency scores are not and cannot be related to a traditional grade. When a parent sees proficiency scores on a report, they should consider that the goal of that report is to give them information regarding how their student can perform as measured against content standards. Parents can still contact teachers and principals directly when they have questions or they can look at the legend on the report card.

    What will the progress reports look like?

    We are currently working to finalize our K-5 progress reports. In a standards-referenced system, progress is reported related to specific standards. Standards are to be mastered over the course of a school year, which means parents will notice scores on the progress report may be lower in the first, second, or even third quarter. This is normal and should be expected as students are learning and working to master standards by the end of the year.

    Mastery is at a level 3 in our system. This is the goal and should be celebrated!

    More information about progress reports will be shared later.

    Who else is using SRG?

    Listed below are a few of the larger school districts implementing standards-based/referenced grading.


    If you have a question, submit it to info@usd259.net