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[d]What is a Decaying Average in Standards-Based Grading?


Q: What is a Decaying Average in Standards-Based Grading?

A: The Decaying Average is a type of Mastery Level Calculation for Standards-Based Grading that puts more weight on the most recent score.


What is it?

When you turn on Standards-Based Grading the Mastery Level Calculation will automatically be set to Decaying Average 65%.  You can learn more about changing your formula and the different options available to you by reading: How Do I Change the Mastery Level Calculation for My Domain

The Decaying Average formula recognizes that the most recent score is more representative of the student's current mastery level and thus puts more weight on that score (as opposed to a straight average that counts the student's first work and most recent work as equally important).  On the other hand, it also recognizes that past work might be relevant; it is still part of the whole picture (as opposed to the Most Recent formula which only counts the most recent score).

How Does it Work?

Let's say you have the Decaying Average 65% formula and 2 scores on Standard A given in this chronological order: 2, 3.

  • .35(2) + .65(3) = 2.65 is the Mastery Level.

Next, imagine that you give that student a new score of 4 on Standard A.

  • .35(2.65) + .65(4) = 3.53 is the new Mastery Level. Notice how this takes the last Mastery Level and weights it by 35%, then weights the most recent score for Standard A by 65%.

Let's Compare 

  Score 1 Score 2 Score 3 Current Mastery Level
Average 2 3 4 3
Decaying Average 65% 2 3 4 3.53
Most Recent 2 3 4 4


Other Resources:

How Do I Change the Mastery Level Calculation for My Domain?

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