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Cedar Rapids: Getting Inspired by Standards-Based Grading

Cedar Rapids Community School District has a well-defined strategy for implementing competency-based learning. Amid implementation, however, they ran into challenges getting standards-based grading (a key part of their model) to really “stick” in the district.

Cedar Rapids researched other communities that have demonstrated success in building a system and culture for standards-based grading. From this research, the team learned new approaches to track individual students’ mastery of standards over time (versus having grades that reflect mastery at a singular, stagnant point in time); these approaches struck the team as potentially powerful ways to close persistent achievement gaps in the district – which, in turn, would be a compelling message to bring to students, families, and staff in attempt to get the work to “stick.”

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