Standards-Based Grading in a Thermodynamics Course

Scott L Post


Standards based grading is a formal assessment mechanism that tests for student achievement of specified learning objectives, or standards. Standards-Based-Grading has been gaining in popularity in K-12 education, and also has been seeing increased use in higher education, though it has only recently been used in engineering education. This paper describes how Standards-Based Grading was implemented in a second-semester Thermodynamics course. A total of eleven learning objectives were specified for the course. In this implementation of Standards-Based Grading, all assessments are done on a pass-fail basis. That is to say, there is no partial credit given. Once a student passes an assessment, usually given in the form of a quiz, on a given learning objective, it is assumed the student has mastered that concept and is not tested on it again. Students are allowed to re-test on particular objectives if they do not pass them on the first try. The final exam serves as a last chance for students to pass any objectives they did not complete earlier in the semester. The learning objectives can be mapped to student outcomes such as those required for accreditation without having to generate a separate set of data outside the normal course grading.


standards based grading; criteria based grading;

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International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy (iJEP) – eISSN: 2192-4880
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