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Understanding Standards-Referenced Grading at GHMS
Beginning with the 2021-22 school year, HUSD implemented a standards-referenced grading system. Standards referenced grading is a grading system that focuses on the content, skills, and standards that students must learn. This means that when recording scores, the concern is not with the cumulative grade on the test, but rather the level of mastery the student has achieved on each concept assessed. With this slight change, instruction can be adjusted to help struggling students with particular skills and/or to provide enrichment opportunities when a skill is mastered. The following table highlights the ways that traditional grading and standards-based grading differ.

Traditional Grading

Standards-Based Grading

Final grades are an average of performance, effort, homework completion, and other criteria developed by the teacher. As a result, what final grades communicate might be unclear and will likely vary from teacher to teacher. Final grades describe a student's progress towards specific course standards (or learning targets). The specificity enables students and families to clearly identify strengths and areas for improvement.
Grades are viewed as rewards or punishment for overall school performance.


Grades are viewed as a tool for communicating student progress toward specific course standards (or learning targets).


Work habits, such as homework completion or on-task behavior are averaged in with course grades. This practice can raise or lower grades without clarity as to why.

Habits of work /21st-century skills are reported and graded separately. They are essential elements of progress towards mastery.
Grading is something done by teachers to students and is generally not well understood by students.


Students play an active role in understanding learning targets, tracking their progress, identifying next steps, and communicating their progress.


"Why would anyone want to change current grading practices? The answer is quite simple: Grades are so imprecise that they are almost meaningless." - Robert Marzano

The following table represents the current SRG scale being implemented at GHMS. Please keep in mind that level 3 proficient is the grade-level mastery and level 4 highly proficient is going beyond and applying the skill. It is important to note that some standards are year-long standards and will not be at a level 3 mastery until the end of the year.


Score Explanation Level of Proficiency
4 The student can make in-depth inferences and applications that go beyond the learning target. Highly Proficient
3 The student can show mastery of the learning target. Proficient
2 The student can show partial mastery or perform basic processes of the learning target with no assistance.  Partially Proficient
1 The shows mastery of the learning target with teacher assistance. Minimally Proficient