Trend Grading

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Trend Grading

At IPA we use a system of grading in Grades 6-10 known as trend grading. With trend grading, a score a student receives shows the student’s current level of mastery in relation to the criterion, or learning goals within a particular course. We understand that learning is a process and when students are first given the opportunity to learn new concepts and skills, it is unlikely they will achieve mastery right away. Therefore, we believe students should not be penalized for the process of learning, which includes making mistakes.

Over the course of the school year, students are given multiple assessments, or opportunities to demonstrate and apply what they have learned thus far. On each assessment, feedback will be given regarding the student’s progress with reference to the specific criterion assessed. The expectation is that over time, through feedback and revision, a student’s score will trend upward as they move closer to mastery.

FAQs About Trend Grading

To help answer any questions you may have about trend grading, below are answers to some frequently asked questions.


What is the grading scale for trend grading?

For Grades 6-10, we use a 1-8 scale. Please note that these scores do not translate directly into standard percent scores and that the criterion scores are not intended to be translated. That is, a score of 4 out of 8 on an assessment is not the same as a 50% in a traditional grading system. A score of 4 indicates where a student is in their learning journey toward mastery. For the score to have meaning, it is important that scores are discussed in relation to the assessed criterion. Feedback from the teacher, and self-reflection by the student will help the student understand how to get from where there are currently, to the established learning goals.


What do the scores mean?

Each assessment given in a class is intended to assess a student’s progress towards mastery of the learning objectives, or course criteria. Therefore, each assessment is linked to a specific Criterion (A-E). The score a student receives is described by a qualitative level descriptor in the course criterion rubrics.


How is trend grading different from a traditional grading system?

In a traditional grading system, a student’s score is an average of all the grades received on assignments throughout the school year. Thus, if students struggle in the beginning of the school year, their overall score at the quarter and semester is negatively impacted. We believe students should not be penalized for struggling in the process of learning. Mistakes are an integral part of the learning process. Fear of making mistakes can result in a fixed mindset, where students do not seek to try new ideas for fear of failure. With trend grading, student growth and progress is celebrated. A student’s score reflects where they are at that point in time, while taking into account the growth over time as a positive factor in the student’s overall criterion score.