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WPS implements Standards-Referenced Grading

WPS implements Standards-Referenced Grading
Proficiency scale example
WPS is implementing Standards-Referenced Grading at elementary schools this year, which provides consistent grading practices across the district based what students should know and are able to do at each grade level. WPS hosted community sessions to help others understand SRG and answer questions. Many of the frequently asked questions from the sessions can be found at

“We understand that there is a newness that teachers are experiencing. Our teachers are planning differently than they have before,” said Andi Giesen, Assistant Superintendent of Learning Services. “We want staff to know that they don’t have to be perfect right away.”

“We are talking about standards now more than ever. Teachers are developing a deeper understanding of what students must learn to reach the standards. That understanding makes it easier for teachers to create the strategies to help students move through the progression of the learning and recognize the need to take instruction to higher cognitive levels,” Giesen said.

“I’ve heard teachers say that because of Standards-Based Grading, for the first time they truly know what they want their students learn,” said Christy O’Toole, Executive Director, Curriculum and Instructional Support.

“Teachers are being creative on how students are interacting with proficiency scales and students are able to talk about their own learning,” Giesen added.

To see how elementary teachers are using Standards Referenced Grading in their classrooms, click here.

O’Toole said one of the key pieces she learned from the community sessions was the need to communicate with secondary schools sooner. Many elementary parents had questions about how SRG will look when their children move up. Middle schools will roll out Standards-Referenced grading next year and high schools roll out will begin in the fall of 2021.

“We want to make sure that people understand that the high school transcripts will still reflect all the information needed for college applications and post-secondary readiness,” O’Toole said.

O’Toole wants to remind staff that it is a learning year and feedback from them is welcomed and will help how the district moves forward with SRG.

During the month of October, Learning Services has an SRG Hotline for people who have questions. Call 973-4400 Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 5 – 7 p.m.

More information on Standards-Referenced Grading is online at