My colleague also said that if a student understands the material, than he or she is "an A student" and should get an A. She cited a positively brilliant kid--one of the best writers I've ever had in 12 years on the job--who got a C for me last year and is getting a C for her this year in AP. Why? She skips assignments. "But you've seen her writing," my colleague says. "She's an A student."But then, that's because SBG requires something that most schools aren't doing: meaningful grades. As I explain in a comment over there,
My response: "No. She has an A brain...but A students do the work. Therefore, she's not an A student."
We kicked around some possible alternatives: A 4-point system, where an A is worth four, a B three, a C two, a D 1, and an F zero. It penalizes kids less for screw-ups. (The aforementioned kid with 3 75s and a skip would get a C- under this system.)
I wouldn't buy into that either...it means that the kid who tried and struggled gets the same grade on a paper as the kid who played video games instead. That's unjust.
The problem is that one grade (A, B, C) means too much and too little at the same time. I like some of the theory behind standards-based grading--but it requires a smarter report card. If "A" represents only learning, then we need separate categories (on the transcript, natch) for things like behavior, effort, and timeliness.And it can be done.
We just need to be more--how do I say this gently?--Canadian.
See here for an example [pdf].