This post is also crossposted on Medium.
It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as have these lowly organized creatures.” — Charles Darwin
I chose worms for as a metaphor for standards-based learning and grading because both have little “content” of their own. Worms don’t plant the seed; worms don’t thrust roots into soil; worms don’t burst into the open air flowering and bearing fruit.
What worms do is create the optimal conditions for all these things.
Worms break up hard-packed soil, creating space for germinating seeds and pathways for wandering roots, transforming hard-packed soil into rich humus, mixing the soil’s minerals for easy uptake. In destabilizing the soil’s status quo, worms set the stage for an explosion of growth.
In my first post, I explored how competency-based education flourishes in the rich, accommodating soil of standards-based learning and grading. In this post, I look at how positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS) can thrive within this same fertile context. In my final post, I explore how SBL/SBG, by placing the emphasis on standards, not assignments or curriculum, can open the door to greater choice and voice for students, allowing them to pursue their own pathways and passions.
Can #2: Including Behavior in the Academic Grade vs. Positive Behavior Interventions and Support
Although the academic grade’s explicit purpose is to convey a student’s academic performance, it is often repurposed as a way to promote desired non-academic behaviors.
Sometimes these purposes are achieved by assigning a percentage of the overall grade to participation, organization, neatness, preparedness, or other non-academic behavioral expectations.
Other times, these purposes are achieved by incorporating various penalties when work is late, incomplete, sloppy, or plagiarized. Late penalties are designed to induce punctuality. Zeroes are used for the same purpose, as well as to encourage academic integrity, since they are commonly given out for plagiarism or cheating.