Grading for Learning in the AASD

The goal of grading for learning is to improve student learning by reporting grades that are accurate, meaningful, consistent, and support learning. By changing our mindset around how we respond to assessments and shifting our grading practices to reflect what students know and are able to do, student achievement will improve.

Grading for Learning

Standards-Based Practices and Reporting (Elementary Level)

What is a Standards-Based Progress Report?

A standards-based progress report lists the most important skills students should learn in each subject at a particular grade level.

For example, in reading, a second-grade progress report might list these skills for English Language Arts:

  • Retells and explains the lesson, message, or moral of stories, fables, and folktales
  • Compares and contrasts two or more texts
  • Asks and answers questions to demonstrate understanding of text
  • Decodes known and unfamiliar words
  • Reads at grade level (end of year benchmark)

Instead of overall letter grades, students receive marks that show how well they have mastered the standard/expectation and the progress they have made in mastering the standard/expectation.

The marks will show whether the student has 1-Minimal Progress; 2-Progressing Toward; 3-Meeting; or 4-Exceeding for each standard/expectation.

Why does the Appleton Area School District use a Standards-Based Progress Report at the Elementary level?

While letter grades seem “understandable” to parents, they give only limited information about what the students have learned or can do, are dependent on teacher and parent interpretation, and can be focused only on surface knowledge rather than understanding and application.

Considering an “average” to determine the final marking or grade may not be reflective of the final learning. A standards-based approach allows teachers to use information from a variety of assessments to evaluate student learning.

The information, when shared with parents, gives a more detailed picture of what a child can do.

Standards-Based Practices and Reporting

Career and Life Skills (Middle Level 7th and 8th)

Learning/work habits play an important role in a student’s success. In the AASD we refer to those habits as Career and Life Skills. Career and Life Skills are also an important factor in your student’s preparation for college and careers. 

Communicating with you using a separate mark indicating your student’s Career and Life Skills in each course shows the importance of these skills.

We will report progress in Career and Life Skills using the following three categories:

  • Social and Cross-cultural
  • Productivity and Accountability
  • Initiative and Self-direction

To date, the middle school progress report reflected the Appleton Area School District’s expectations for academics and learning/work habits integrated into one letter grade for a course. In all middle level courses  there will be an academic letter grade representing the student’s learning related to the academic course standards and a separate mark will be given for Career and Life Skills. Career and Life Skills progress will be reported out at the end of each semester.  


Middle Level Informational Parent Letter
Middle Level Career and Life Skills Frequency Rubric 2017-2018

Parent's Guide to Elementary Standards-Based Progress Reports
Parent's Guide to Middle School Standards-Based Progress Reports

Grading for Learning: Career and Life Skills Presentation
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