Joy Kirr is a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. Her 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of their learning experiences... Want to have her speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is Joy's PORTFOLIO.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Standards Based...

This is an addition to "My Dislike of Grades..." post on 5/19/12.

We had a school improvement day two days ago, and two teachers from our assessment committee spoke on behalf of all they had discussed and decided this past year. We are moving to standards-based grading soon.  I knew it was coming down the pike, and I tried to spread the word so that teachers wouldn't feel so frustrated when it did.  Teachers get so frustrated when it's time for a change...

I am excited, however.  No, I'm not exited about the work that will have to be put into changing my thinking around, learning a new system, probably learning a new computer program for inputting grades.  But I am excited because then we'll KNOW what our students are learning.  We'll KNOW those common core standards inside and out.  I do believe we will be better teachers.  At least, I hope I will.

One more thing I had to add this morning - I saw a video and I wanted to share it with you.  It is six minutes long, and is entitled "Toxic Grading Practices."  His talk about not giving zeros in class makes so much sense to me.  Next step?  I need to get a poster of Larry the Cable Guy saying, "Git 'er done!"


  1. Joy,
    I'm excited for your school. I believe standards-based grading will certainly help students as well as teachers. I hope you will continue to write about the process because we are not there yet. (By the way, your school is lucky to have you as a leader in the transition.)


    1. Denise, we are not there yet, but I will be sure to join the assessment committee so that another voice can be heard, and I can help others along...? Didn't you love that video on toxic grading?! He was able to articulate his ideas so well. I think I'm going to show it to my students at the beginning of next year!
      As always, thanks for being my inspiration for the blog, for ideas for genius hour, and for a great person to have found for my PLN. I'll be setting up a class twitter acct. soon, and will for sure follow your class and Gallit's and Hugh's as well!!

  2. Joy, I did like that video. Kids would like it, but they may think you are preaching to the choir. I would think they will be all for it.

    It's hard for the teachers I've met to accept some of his ideas, though--for instance, the no zeros and the "'git 'er done" attitude of accepting late assignments.

    We'll look forward to following your class on Twitter!


  3. I just saw this post, Joy. I'm so excited for you to move to standards based grading. Next year will be year 3 for standards based at my school. There are definitely some resisters, and you may need to be a cheerleader. It's worth it, though. I love standards based grading.