Standards Based Grading in AP CSA?

I was first introduced to standards based grading in February at an A+ College Ready Workshop, and my mind was blown away. My non-traditional journey to education means I often learn things out of step with the core teachers in my hallways. Like so many ideas, I had to let it marinate. Do you do that? Keep a big idea sloshing around in your teacher brain, waiting for it to crystallize into your reality?

When you google marinating ideas, you get a lot of chicken recipes

For me, May is always about looking forward. How can I improve CS in Room 112? Which subject needs to get better, which group needs my focus? For me, that is AP CSA – the newest subject in my program and the one I face with the least amount of confidence. But what if I coupled the logic of SBG with CSA….has anyone done that?

I searched the web over, and while I find APUSH and Physics resources abounding, I struggled to find a blueprint for SBG in the AP CSA classroom. So once I again, I am going to fly blindly into the wind and see what happens.

If you don’t know anything about SBG- stop what you are doing and go read what these people have to say – they have already been in the SBG trenches

I ordered books, I read blogs, I watched videos, and I marinated my thoughts until I decided to take the plunge. To avoid getting overwhelmed I started nice and easy with Unit 1. Could I develop Standards for Unit 1? How would I handle homework for Unit 1? How would I maintain AP Rigor in Unit 1? By pushing the big picture aside a small, tenuous little plan began to take shape.

The Unit 1 Plan will take several postings, but every single source says to start with developing the proficiency standards. For this first Unit I developed the following standards, using my amazing textbook (now one version behind but I shall not be defeated) and the green book of genius (the CED).

After way to many hours here are the Unit 1 standards:

For the next post I will explain how I plan to score, assess and communicate this new system. Right now, it is still evolving and I give it a 40% chance of success.

If you are new to CSA and don’t have a textbook yet – I strongly recommend Building Java Programs. I am a proud user of the 4th edition at a school with not enough funds to move to the 5th edition.


Published by MaryClair Wright

High School Computer Science Teacher in Alabama.

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