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Standards Grades Calculations

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Set the calculation methods for standards grades for each class.

  1. Choose Settings from the main navigation menu, then choose Standards Grade Calculations.
  2. Click the triangle next to the class to expand the view.
  3. Choose the calculation method for the standards grades from the Default Calculation drop-down list.
  4. Under Number of Scores, click Edit to set the number of recent scores to include in the Most Recent Scores calculation.
  5. Select the Auto-Calculate checkbox to enable the automatic calculation of lower-level standards into the higher-level standards grades.
  6. Choose an option from the metric drop-down list to set the default calculation method for the higher-level standards grade:
    • Mean: An average of the lower-level standards grades.
    • Weighted Mean: An average of the scores, weighted by the total value.
    • Median: The middle value of the lower level standards grades.
    • Mode: The most frequently occurring grade of the lower level standards grades.
    • Highest: The highest grade of the lower level standards grades.
    • Specific Weighting: The weighted average of specific standards grades. The PowerSchool administrator sets the standards-specific calculation and weights at the course level.
    • Specific Sum: The weighted sum of numeric grades for specific standards. This calculation is typically used by the Middle Years Program as part of the International Baccalaureate program. The PowerSchool administrator sets the standards-specific calculation and weights at the course level. For example, four standards score on a 1-8 scale can be summed up to calculate a final grade on a 1-32 scale using the Specific Sum calculation.
  7. Click Save.

Revert to Default Grade Calculation Formula

If you changed the school or district's default grade calculation formula, you can revert to the default setting by clicking Revert to Default on the class header. If the option is not available, the default settings have not been modified.

Standards Calculation Examples

The following tables provide five example scores and an explanation of each calculation option.

Example Scores

Calculation Method

Calculated Score Result

Scores on five assignments:
2, 3, 3, 3, 4

Mean (average of the scores)

3


Weighted Mean average of the scores, weighted by total value (points possible x weight)

3 (but depends on the weighted points possible for the assignments)


Median (middle score)

3


Mode (most frequently occurring score)

3
Note: When there is more than one mode, this score will be the highest.


Highest (highest score)

4


Most Recent (average of the most recent scores)

Most Recent 1 score: 4
Most Recent 2 scores: 3.5
(average of 3 and 4)
Most Recent 3 scores: 3.33
(average of 3, 3, and 4)
You can also set a weight for each of the most recent scores on the Preferences dialog.
For example, set the most recent calculation to use the last 3 scores. You want the most recent to be 50%, and the 2 before to each be 25% of the calculation.


Calculation Methods

The following table lists the calculation methods available for analyzing assignment standards scores to calculate a final standards grade on a given standard. It also provides information outlining scenarios when using that method may or may not be the best measure for your class.

Calculation Method

When to Use It

When Not to Use It

Mean

When you have equally important scores over time, and the learning is not cumulative. For example, in History, final unit test scores on unit 1, unit 2, and unit 3 may all be independent. In that case, you could use the mean (or average).

When students are introduced to a new concept, and the learning is cumulative over time. For example, students initially do not understand a concept, but over the term, they get it. Averaging their initial scores (where they were unfamiliar with the work) with their final attempts (when they understood the concepts) may not be the best measure. For example, consider the following scores: 20%, 30%, 40%, 95%, 100%. In this case, the student likely did not understand the concept initially, but by the end, they got it. The average here is 57%, which may not be the most reflective of their proficiency at the end of the term.

Weighted Mean

The weighted mean is better than the mean when assignments with high weighted points should be counted more heavily.

When all standards scores are valid indicators of performance, the teacher may not care about the specific points possible. This is especially true if there are high point value assignments from early in the semester, and the students have grown tremendously since that time.

Median

When you have multiple data points and students are given lots of chances to demonstrate mastery. It allows the student to overcome their initial attempts when they do not understand initially because only the middle score is used. Some people consider this one of the most consistent measures of performance. This measure throws out high and low outlying scores. For this reason, housing price data is usually listed in terms of the median sales price. There are extremes at either end that can skew the average.

When there are only a few data points. In that case, the middle number can simply be luck. Or, when the learning is cumulative, where the students know much more at the end of the term, and their proficiency is significantly better across the board than at the start. For example, consider the following scores: 20%, 30%, 40%, 95%, 100%. In this case, the student likely did not understand the concept at the beginning, but by the end they got it. The median (or middle number) here is 40% and may not be the most reflective of their proficiency at the end of the term.

Mode

When you have a small range of possibilities. For example, when using letter grades A, B, C, D, F, or a 1-4 scale, there is only a limited range of score options. If a student's scores are A, D, A, B, A, the most frequently occurring value is A.

When there are multiple possible scores, and it is unlikely for the exact score to be consistent. For example, this is not a good measure for percentage scores.
Example percentage scores: 90, 91, 25, 100, 99, 81.5, 98, 97, 25, 96, 94. In this data, the mode is 25%. The average is 81.5%. The median is 94%.

Highest

When the student's highest level of demonstrated proficiency is a good indicator of what they know and can do. When assessments are in-depth and highly reliable. In these cases, many districts believe that the student's highest score is a good indicator.

When the highest score could be based on chance or lucky guessing. For example, on multiple-choice tests, the student could have guessed right on several questions by chance, boosting their highest score. For example, one student's results for one standard assessed on five multiple-choice tests were as follows: 70, 95, 70, 70, 70. Although the student did get a 95 once, this score may not be the best reflection of the student's actual level of proficiency on this standard.

Most Recent

When the learning is cumulative and students demonstrate a much higher proficiency level at the end of the term than at the beginning. In these cases, it makes sense to focus on the most recent scores to reflect the student's proficiency.

When some of the most recent scores themselves are anomalies. For example, if a student recently was very ill, or experienced some other phenomenon, then the most recent scores may not reflect their actual proficiency. This is usually assessed student-by-student to determine if the most recent scores are accurate. It can also happen when the most recent assessment is not as detailed or reliable as earlier assessments, or other distracting factors. For example, students have lots of good quizzes and a unit test with reliable data, followed by in-class review worksheets. Half of the students were distracted completing them because there was construction going on outside. In this case, the most recent data may not be the most reflective.

In PowerTeacher Pro, you can mark any standards score as Exempt. For example, if a student was ill during the last quiz, you can choose to exempt this score. The calculations will then ignore that score and use the other scores. For example, if you have set the most recent three calculations, and mark the most recent score as Exempt, the calculation will take the previous three scores. In this manner, you can use the most recent scores, or any other calculation, while still exempting any scores that are not an accurate reflection of the student's learning.

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