Standards-Based Assessment & Grading at TuHS  

Over the past several years, a number of teachers at TuHS have made the switch to a proficiency-based model of assessment and grading.  These

include teams in Biology, Physical Science, Geometry and Language Arts, as well as several teachers in the Social Studies and the Career and Technical Education (CTE) departments.

Grades Reflect Student Learning

It is our belief that the purpose of grades and report cards is to communicate about student achievement and that academic grades should reflect achievement in relationship to academic content standards using specific criteria that are meaningful to students, teachers, and parents. We also believe that academic behaviors are critical for student success; therefore, students’ behavioral performance will be reported separately.


Instruction & Assessment Aligned to Clear, Explicit Targets

In a proficiency-based system (also known as standards-based), the intent is that the student’s grade reflects what they know and can do in terms of the identified priority standards in the course. The number of priority standards or learning targets will vary by content area and by course. Students measure their progress by those standards and are encouraged to take ownership of their learning. Formative assessments (i.e. homework, class work or practice) are used to measure and reinforce learning in progress, but the student’s academic grade is determined by performance on summative assessments (e.g. tests, projects, labs, etc.) that are directly tied to the standards.

Focus on Student Growth

Students have multiple opportunities to demonstrate proficiency on the standards, so their score on a standard could change over the course of the grading period. Typically those scores are replaced (not averaged) in order to reflect the student’s most recent performance and not penalize them for their performance early on when they were still learning the material. In some courses, additional opportunities to meet the standards are given outside of class as test retakes or projects; in other courses, multiple opportunities are built into the course assessment schedule. Either way, proficiency allows for growth. If students demonstrate growth over the semester, this is reflected in their score both on the individual standards, and then ultimately in their final overall grade for the course, thus providing an accurate indication of their level of proficiency in relation to the grade-level academic standards.

Performance Descriptors:

Student performance on assessments tied to academic standards/learning targets will be reported using the following scale:

Proficiency Level


Description: Student demonstrates the following:



Advanced understanding/application of the standard



Solid understanding/application of the standard

Nearly Meets


Gaps in understanding and/or partial application of standard



Shows minimal understanding/application of the standard

Not Attempted


No attempt made on the standard

Determination of the Final Grade:

Teachers will use the following subject-specific guidelines when determining the final grade for the course.

English/Social Studies

Letter Grade


  • At least one-half of the standards must be rated Exceeds (4) (English) and at least one-third of the standards must be rated Exceeds (4) (Social Studies).

  • All standards must be rated Meets (3) at minimum; no ratings of 1 or 2.


The student has mastered, at a very high level, the academic learning of the course.

  • At least one-half of standards must be rated Exceeds (4).

  • All other standards must be rated Meets (3) at minimum; no ratings of 1 or 2.
  • At least three-quarters of standards must be rated Exceeds (4) or Meets (3).

  • No ratings of Beginning (1).


The student has the academic learning of a course strongly in place and is well equipped to move forward.

  • At least one-quarter of standards must be rated Exceeds (4).

  • All standards must be rated at least Meets (3).
  • No more than one standard may be rated Beginning (1).


The student has a basic understanding of the academic learning of a course and has attained the minimum required knowledge and skills to move on to the next course.

  • All standards must be rated at least Meets (3).

  • At least three-fourths of standards must be rated Meets (3) or Exceeds (4) and no standards rated at Beginning (1) (CTE).
  • No more than one third of the standards may be rated Beginning (1).


The student has not mastered enough of the required learning for the course to be successful moving forward. While a student receiving a “D” may move forward to the next course, this student will lack prerequisite learning and interventions may be necessary.

  • Students are expected to meet all standards; D’s are generally not assigned (Math/Science).

  • There is insufficient evidence (not attempted) for one or more of the standards.
  • Over a third of the standards are rated Beginning (1).


The student has not mastered enough academic learning in a course to receive transcripted credit.

  • There is insufficient evidence (not attempted) for one or more of the standards.

  • Student did not meet all standards.

Incompletes/Grade Changes

Teachers may initiate an incomplete contract with a student for extenuating circumstances, i.e. prolonged illness, injury or family emergency. Incomplete contracts are not to be used to provide students additional time to complete missing homework, tests and/or projects due to poor attendance or lack of effort. The teacher will post a final grade on the transcript at the end of the semester. Students have until the end of the second week in the following grading period to complete the work required under the contract. If the contract is satisfactorily completed, the teacher will determine a new grade and change the final grade on the transcript. The teacher or student may appeal this time limit by contacting the Associate Principal of Curriculum, Greg Dinse, at 503-431-5606.

Subject Specific Notes

Content Area

Use of 0.5

Retake Policy/Multiple opportunities


A 0.5 indicates that a student has demonstrated some of the elements of the next level.

- As many opportunities as needed for students to reach minimum proficiency.

Language Arts


- Student will have two opportunities for each standard.

*In addition, they may re-submit one assessment to meet (not exceed) that one standard.



- Original opportunity and one retake opportunity to earn an “Exceeds” score.

- As many opportunities as needed to demonstrate proficiency.

- All initial retests must be done during class time.



- Three total opportunities.

- Students can’t exceed after the first opportunity.

Social Studies


- See teacher’s syllabus.

If you have questions, please communicate with the individual teacher and be sure to check the syllabus and the teacher’s website for more

specific information.