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What is the Difference Between Standards-Based Grading & Competency-Based Education?

What is standards-based grading?


Standards-based grading “involves measuring students’ proficiency on well-defined course objectives.” (Tomlinson & McTighe, 2006). (Note: Standards-based reporting involves reporting these course objectives rather than letter grades at the end of each grading/reporting period.)

A standards-based grading (SBG) philosophy is similar, but not synonymous with, the idea of competency-based education (CBE).

SBG is a way of thinking about grading and assessment that more clearly communicates with parents and students how well learners currently understand the course objectives/standards/competencies. CBE is a system in which students move from one level of learning to the next based on their understanding of pre-determined competencies without regard to seat time, days, or hours.

A competency-based system may utilize a standards-based report card to communicate student learning; however, the two educational terms are not, by definition, the same.

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