SBG plan for Homework in APCSA

While these are great plans – none of them have been tried on students yet!

Homework? Rigor? Practice? Work Ethic?

One of the key components (in my mind) of standard based grading is getting students to correlate homework and practice with increased understanding NOT a score in the grade book.

“Graded programming practice done for homework offers zero insight into what a student knows, and is able to do without assistance.”

Mrs. Wright, Room 112 May 2020

I know that in college, my CSA students are going to be assigned un-scored homework. Anyone remember their college professor collecting and grading homework? I sure don’t! But in all their other classes, they are given homework that is scored. Combine this with the age old “can I see your homework” hallway conversations and the overwhelming access to answers via the internet, and what is a girl to do?

I need them to practice programming outside of class

I have no interest in constantly checking practice for completion if the purpose of practice is to move their skill sets forward

I need to pass the responsibility for practice to increase knowledge from the teacher to the student

If you have mastered a programming skill, do I care if you have done the homework? Nope. What is the goal – for you to master the skill. Does copying homework help that? Nope. Does me assigning more problems that you won’t complete help that? Nope.

Step 1: Identify a skill I need you to have. (Refer to proficiency skills by unit)

Step 2: Identify practice problems we don’t have time to complete in class that will help them master the skill

Step 3: Splain to students the relationship between the practice problems and the skills…I am embarrassed to say I have never done this. It makes perfect sense doesn’t it. But nope, I have been just handing out assignments.

Step 4: Teenager makes decision to complete or not complete the practice. While I wish this would be based on a personal analysis of the skill set, their time budget and their personal work ethic and first the answer is going to be – “Yea, I am not doing that”

Step 5: Teacher hands student a quick “Prove It assignment” to prove that they have mastered (or at least improved) the skill set.

Step 6: Student develops insight into the need to self-govern practice and becomes a hard working student…..this is cute right?

So for Unit 1 Here are my skills to master.

After each lecture, students will be outside programming practice tied to a skill. For the first unit I plan to use the amazing world of Practice.It. Then when they walk into the lecture (we are on an alternating day schedule) they will be greeting with a short practice it. This way I can figure out WHAT THEY KNOW not what they did.

ProveIt 1.2: Skills cleverly identified at the top of the page

The “Name of student who loves Room 112” is uncharacteristically hoakie of me…but then sarcasm took over and now I love it.

At least for the first few units I plan to add the two boxes at the bottom. If my goal is help them see the correlation between practice and mastery, then I need them to participate in that process. If you did zero practice, but mastered the skill – great. If you did zero practice, and scored a 1 on the assessment…love bug do you see the problem? Or even better, you practiced, you mastered the skill, you know and I know it…which I feel like is the point of teaching.

So the rest of Unit 1 Continues on just like this. Of course for Unit 1 they have very few skills so the first two ProveIts are very low level. Here is a glance one for later in the unit so you can see how it evolves with the material.

ProveIt 1.3: Now we are into the big girl programming: arithmetic expressions

This is Dr. Marzano talking about the power of formative assessments

5 thoughts on “SBG plan for Homework in APCSA

  1. I’m so excited to find your blog! Today is the first day of an intense workshop on SBG, and I’m planning/considering using it with my APCSA class to start. My school starts a week after yours, on the 17th, all distance learning. Thank you for your posts.


  2. Hi,

    Just wanted to say I loved this. I am teaching CSP and a Pre CSA class (CSA material but no test at the end). And wanted to make the adjustment to SBG. I’ve done so in my Game Dev class but had trouble figuring out how to break up the standards for my grade book while still being descriptive enough to give the students acceptable feedback on all the content.

    The proD I went to recently suggested using the design cycle, or the CS Principles as my standards but I felt this was an unfair way to assess the students as I couldn’t dive into more nuanced content (For loop vs While loops).

    Do you have your lists of standards you are using?

    Thanks so much!

    Robert Flower


  3. First of all, I want to say that I love all the ideas your putting forward. I am really struggling with two concepts for SBG in CSA. The first one would be which standards to assess, but it looks like you are trying to do all of the standards. Are you putting each standard into the grade book or just an overall “unit” standard.

    Secondly, could you explain why proveIt 1.1 doesn’t have the ability for students to show mastery? Only up to a level 3.0? Are you saying the skills assessed are from your 3.0 category or that’s the maximum mastery that this sheet can show towards their final grade.

    Thanks for the help!


    1. Hi – My earlier reply on this message got trapped inside of the word press. So for 1.1 – we are working on the definitions and basic applications, I wanted to make sure they had a chance to get comfortable with the format and at the same time document their attainment of the 3.0 (and below) material before we moved into the higher order thinking. So for me the first one or two Proveits of each unit are 3.0 and below – so that I have documentation of their ability to navigate the knowledge at a fundamental level. It also allows for immediate success, immediate boxes that can be checked off and helps them buy into the proficiency scale process.


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