How we create quizzes is a crucial component in implementing Standards-Based Grading, and it’s something that continues to evolve as I learn more about the system and what I want to accomplish with it.
Starting with the rating scale is important because this is what we’re asking for from our students. I’ve found that in order to rate a student’s understanding level as proficient, advanced, or mastery, then the questions on a quiz have to allow for proficient, advanced, or mastery understanding to surface. For example, I’ve discovered that my questions tend to be too easy, and this makes it difficult to truly know if a student is at an advanced or mastery level.
In order to improve this, I’ve started to put 3 questions for each concept on a quiz.
- 1 Proficient level question
- 1 Advanced level question
- 1 Mastery level question
So, let’s say we are assessing 3 different concepts on a quiz. In that case, there will be 9 total questions. Here’s an example quiz from a couple weeks ago with difficulty level comments added. The quiz assessed Writing Equations of Parallel & Perpendicular Lines, Translations, and Reflections, so there were 3 leveled questions for each of those concepts. Here’s a closer look.
1 Proficient Level Question
Here’s the proficient level question for Writing Equations of Parallel & Perpendicular Lines.
It’s just a basic question that we practice in class. In addition, it matches what our state standards want the kids to be able to do.
G.2(C) – determine an equation of a line parallel or perpendicular to a given line that passes through a given point
Based on those factors, I believe this represents a proficient level question. Going back to the SBG rating scale, it says for proficient, “The learner has demonstrated understanding of the specific knowledge and skills.” If a student does well on the question above, I think this description has been fulfilled.
1 Advanced Level Question
Here’s the advanced level question for Writing Equations of Parallel & Perpendicular Lines.
Write an equation of the line that goes through (4, 0) and is parallel to the line
-x + 2y = 12. Explain.
This question is more challenging. The student has to understand that parallel slopes are equivalent, but he or she also has to determine the slope of the original line from a standard form equation. In addition, no grid is provided so a student would either have to show intuition by creating his or her own or choose to solve the problem algebraically.
Also, I got this question from our textbook. At the end of each chapter, the teacher edition lists questions based on difficulty level. The question above was listed in the “advanced” list. Based on this, as well as the other factors mentioned, I believe a student can show advanced understanding of the concept in this question.
1 Mastery Level Question
Note: In a lot of SBG systems (including this one), a student is required to score a 9 (advanced) twice in order to achieve a 10 (mastery). This is still the case with these quizzes, but based on student and parent feedback, I allow students to complete an Optional Challenge in order to go for a 10 on their first try. So, the mastery level questions are technically not on the quiz, but they are presented as an optional challenge to the students if they choose to take it.
Here is the mastery level question for Equations of Parallel & Perpendicular Lines.
I found this question in the advanced list in our textbook as well. In my opinion, this question along with the other 2 can altogether show that a student has mastery level understanding of the concept. Based on the textbook writers’ opinions and my understanding of the concept, I believe it’s a sufficient challenge for students to be rewarded with a 10 if enough understanding is demonstrated.
Where can we find questions?
As mentioned above, I like to use our textbook’s end of chapter questions (or other textbook provided assessments) to find sufficient level questions. In addition, released state exams and the PARCC released practice tests are a good place to go. Feel free to share other sources you may know of!
How are these quizzes graded?
Check out this post.
Yelena asks a good question:
When a student takes a quiz, does he/she choose which level problem to work on or has to solve all levels up to whatever they can?
Students are required to attempt both the proficient and advanced level questions in order to allow for a more holistic view of their understanding. The only questions they are not required to attempt are the mastery level questions. Those are on a separate paper titled “Optional Challenge”.