Q. Should I use the Traditional Gradebook or the Standards-Based Gradebook?
A. Which Gradebook you should use depends on a number of factors, as each is good at different things. Plus, each is only available to teachers in certain situations.
If you are a teacher and you can't create a Standards-Based Gradebook in your class, check with your school's domain administrators to make sure that Standards-Based Grading is enabled. Please note: Standards-Based Grading is turned off by default for new School Edition domains.
If you are using a Solo Teacher account, or your domain administrators allow you to choose which Gradebook to use, it's best to make your choice based on what kind of information is important to you.
When to use a Traditional Gradebook
The Traditional Gradebook is best for questions like:
- How well do my students perform on different types of tasks?
- Which assessments have my students completed?
- Have my students completed enough assessments in order to pass my class?
Traditional gradebooks can be useful for record-keeping. Because they track scores by assessment, it’s easy to identify which assessments haven’t been completed. In addition, many colleges and universities assume that schools are using traditional gradebooks, so it’s often easier to convert traditional grades into report cards and transcripts.
To get started, check out our article on setting up a Traditional Gradebook.
When to use a Standards-Based Gradebook
Standards-based gradebooks are better for questions like:
- What particular topics or skills are my students struggling with?
- Why is a particular student having trouble in my class?
- Have my students met the basic learning goals I’ve set for the class?
- Which learning goals should I spend the most time on going forward?
Simply put, standards-based gradebooks are much better at identifying what students have and haven’t learned. For example, instead of just telling students that they’ve scored poorly on essays, teachers using standards-based grading can tell students that their ideas and organization are very strong, but that they need to work on spelling and grammar. This helps teachers use their time more efficiently, and it helps students understand better what they need to do in order to succeed.
Grading an assessment in a standards-based gradebook is obviously a little different from grading an assessment in a traditional gradebook. First, the teacher needs to define which standards (learning goals) are being measured by a particular assessment. Then, students will earn a grade for each of those standards. As scores are entered, the standards-based gradebook will aggregate students’ performance on each standard over time and across all assessments.
To get started, check out our article on setting up a Standards-Based Gradebook.
When to use both Gradebooks
Can’t decide which Gradebook to use? No problem! This is pretty common, especially at schools just getting started with standards-based assessment practices. PowerSchool Learning lets you use both gradebooks in the same class, so if you find you need to answer all of the questions listed above, you can have your cake and eat it, too.