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Standards

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Before using standards in PowerSchool, understand what your district wants and is expected to report to a board of education, superintendent, or the state Department of Education (DOE). There is no need to define different standards or benchmarks at every grade level if you are not expected to report that information. For example, the Wyoming DOE requires schools to report student progress at the fourth-, eighth-, and eleventh-grade levels. Schools in Wyoming often select to have all teachers match their assignments to only those benchmarks unless their local DOE requires it at every grade level. Kindergarten through fourth-grade teachers can align to the fourth-grade set of benchmarks; fifth- through eighth-grade teachers can align to the eighth-grade set; and so on.

Important: If each grade level does use and report on different standards, then standards should be created by grade level.

Grading Methods

The conversion scales are applied in the grading methods listed in the following table. In specialized cases, these methods need special values in order to translate into a different scale.

Grading MethodDescription
Values and Cut-offsThis is the main way that alphanumeric scales work. Every letter has a grade value. Those values are averaged together then the cut-off is used to determine the final grade. For example: A = 100, B= 80. Student has A, A, B (value = 100, 100, 80). Average = 92.5%. The cut-off for A is 90, so the final grade is A. There are two scenarios where a numeric scale uses a value and cut-off.
Basic NumbersThis is the main way that numeric scales work. Basic numbers have no special values. For example: 4, 4, 3, 3 = 4, 4, 3, 3. Average = 3.5. There are two scenarios where a numeric scale does not use basic numbers. In order to calculate the grade correctly, you create Translation Values.

Standards Scenarios

The grade scales calculation in PowerTeacher Pro is dependent on the preferences the teacher has set on the Standards Grades Calculations page in PowerTeacher Pro.

If no calculation preferences are set:

Standards ScenarioAlphanumeric ScaleNumeric Scale
Using assignment standard scores to calculate the final standards grade.Uses values and cut-offs to calculate the final standards grade. Every letter has a grade value. The grade values are added, then the cut-off is used to determine the final grade.Uses basic numbers with no special values.

If preference is set to calculate the higher level standards grades from lower level standards grades:

Standards ScenarioAlphanumeric ScaleNumeric Scale
Rolling up standards final grades to the higher level standards, when all lower level standards have the same scale.Uses values and cut-offs to calculate the final standards grade. Every letter has a grade value. The grade values are added, then the cut-off is used to determine the final grade.Uses basic numbers with no special values.
Rolling up standards final grades to the higher level standards, when some of lower level standards have different types of grade scales.Uses values and cut-offs to calculate the final standards grade. Every letter has a grade value. The grade values are added, then the cut-off is used to determine the final grade.Uses the grade value and cut-off to use the values and cut-offs grading method.

If preference is set to allow assignment scores to auto-calculate the assignment standards scores:

Standards ScenarioAlphanumeric ScaleNumeric Scale
Pushing scores from the assignment to the standards scores.Uses values and cut-offs to calculate the assignment standard scores. Every letter has a grade value. The cut-off is used to determine the assignment standards score.If the same scale is used for the section's traditional grade as well as the standards being assessed, then basic numbers with no special values are used. If however the scales differ, then the translation values and cutoffs are used.

Standards Calculation Measures

Here are five example scores, an explanation of each calculation option, and a discussion of when each option might be a good or a bad choice for your class.

Example Score

Calculation Method

Calculation 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 points possible)

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 blank.

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.

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.


Every measure has times when it is valuable, and times where it may not be the best measure for your class.

Calculation Method Description

The following table lists the calculation methods available.

Calculation MethodWhen to Use ItWhen Not to Use It
MeanWhen you have equally important scores at each period of 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, using the mean (or average) could be a good choice.When students are introduced to a new concept and the learning is cumulative over time. For example, students start out not understanding 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 at the beginning, 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 MeanThe weighted mean is better than the mean when assignments with high weighted points possible 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.
MedianWhen you have multiple data points, and students have been given lots of chances to demonstrate mastery. It allows the student to overcome their initial attempts when they don't understand at the beginning, 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 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.
ModeWhen you have a small range of possibilities. For example, when using letter grades A,B,C,D,F, or a 1-4 scale, there are 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%.
HighestWhen 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 5 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 RecentWhen the learning is cumulative, and the students will demonstrate a much higher level of proficiency at the end of the term than at the beginning. In these cases, it makes sense to focus on the most recent scores as a reflection of the student's proficiency.When some of 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 be reflective of 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 there were other distracting factors. For example, students have lots of good quizzes and a unit test with reliable data. That was 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.
Specific WeightValues entered in the weight field for standards related to the course are used to determine which standards grades will be averaged to produce the course grade as well as how much each standard grade will be weighted in that calculation.If you want to weigh all of the standards assessed by the student to determine a final grade. For calculating a final standards grade, you want all direct child standards to calculate to the parent. For calculating a final traditional grade from standards, you want all standards assessed for the student to be included in the calculation.
Specific SumFor use with numeric grade scales. Values entered in the weight field for standards related to the course are used to determine which numeric standard grades will be summed to produce a numeric course grade, as well as how many times they will be counted. For example: The course standard has a weight of 2, numeric value of the standard grade is 3, sum value for that standard grade is 6. Course or section grades scales will often allow higher numeric values than those assigned to the standards being summed to allow for more meaningful summed totals. For example: A standard has a numeric 1-4 grade scale. The related course where the grade is being summed might have a 1-20 numeric grade scale so that up to 5 standard grades can be summed into the course grade for a maximum course grade of 20.You do not want to have a separate scale where specific summed standards grades are evaluated against a larger maximum range.

Important Usage Note: In PowerTeacher Pro, you can mark any score as Exempt. If a student was sick during the last quiz, you can exempt this score. The most recent calculation will then ignore that score, and use the previous score. In this manner, you can use the most recent scores, while still exempting any scores that are not good reflections of the student's learning.

How Do I Determine the Standards Final Grade for the Marking Period?

The default calculation method is used as a starting point. However, as described above, sometimes these measures work very well, and other times there are reasons to prefer a different calculation. The default calculation is a good starting point. However, the teacher should review the standards scores above, and review the calculations in the summary area below. Then the teacher can determine if the calculated score is correct for the report card for this student, or if they want to choose a different grade on that standard for that student.

Here are two examples, both of which start with the default calculation of the highest score for the final standards grade.

Student 1

  • Scores: 3,3,3,4,4,4,4,4,4,4
  • Highest = 4
  • Final Grade Decision on this standard: For this student, 4 is probably a good choice for the final grade on this standard. No change or further work needed.

Student 2

  • Scores: 2,2,4,2,1,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2
  • Highest = 4

Final Grade Decision on this standard: For this student, it would be good to know more about the time they got a 4. Likely, the teacher will want to change the standard final score on the report card from 4 to 2. Two is the median, mode, approximate average, and the most recent score. With this data, 2 appears to be a more accurate representation of the student's actual proficiency level on this standard than 4.

Standard Conversion Scales

Create conversion scales to be used with PowerTeacher Gradebook that can be assigned to standards to determine the standards final grades and standards assignment scores. PowerTeacher Pro does not use conversion scales. However, if a teacher is switching from PowerTeacher Gradebook to PowerTeacher Pro in the middle of the term length of a class, then it is imperative that the standards assigned to the course have a conversion scale and a grade scale that match, and that are tied directly to those standards. This will ensure that the data migration works correctly.

Create a Conversion Scale

Before entering standards, you must first create at least one conversion scale.

  1. On the start page, choose District under Setup in the main menu.
  2. Under Grading, click Standards.
  3. Click Conversion Scales. The Standard Conversion Scales page appears with the default scale already created. However, you must define each scale and enter the cutoffs for each level and for the converted score.
    Note: It is advantageous to leave a default scale in your system for importing purposes.
  4. Click New.
  5. Use the following table to select the grade scale type:

    TypeDescription
    NameEnter a name for the standard conversion scale.
    TypeChoose a grade scale type from the pop-up menu:
    • Alphanumeric: Use for letter grades such as A, B, and C or E, S, and N, or descriptive grades such as Excellent, Satisfactory, and Unsatisfactory.
    • Numeric (2 decimal places): Use for GPA-type grades such as 4.00, 3.00, and 2.00.
    • Numeric (zero decimal places): Use for simple numerical grades such as 1, 2, 3, and 4.
    • Numeric (custom): Use for custom numeric grades such as a 4,3,2,1 scale where teachers are allowed to enter decimal scores like 3.5.
    MinEnter the minimum numeric value allowed. Based on the Min and Max numbers you enter, PowerSchool will automatically populate the range of numeric values along with the applicable cut-off and grade values
    Note: This field appears when Numeric is selected on the Type pop-up menu.
    MaxEnter the maximum numeric value allowed. Based on the Min and Max numbers you enter, PowerSchool will automatically populate the range of numeric values along with the applicable cut-off and grade values.
    Note: This field appears when Numeric is selected on the Type pop-up menu.
    Decimal PlacesEnter the number of decimal places allowed.
    Note: This field is editable when Numeric (custom) is selected on the Type pop-up menu.
    DescriptionEnter a description.
  6. Click Submit.
    Note: Enter as many conversion scales as needed for the district.

Add or Edit Conversion Scale Attributes

After defining the conversion scale, you can edit the scale attributes.

  1. On the start page, choose District under Setup in the main menu.
  2. Under Grading, click Standards.
  3. Click Conversion Scales.
  4. Click on the Edit Scale link of the scale you want to modify.
  5. To add an attribute to this scale, click New. To edit an existing attribute, click the Number/Level or Grade/Label hyperlink.
  6. Use the following table to enter information in the fields:

    TypeDescription
    NameThe name of the conversion scale appears
    TypeDisplays a description of the standard conversion scale entry.
    Number/Level or Grade/LabelIn a numeric scale, displays the number/level as a hyperlink.
    In an alphanumeric scale, displays the grade/label as a hyperlink.
    DescriptionDisplays the description for the number or grade.
    Cut-offDisplays the cut-off percentage. This is the minimum a student must earn on an assignment to receive this grade.
    In a numeric scale, this value is used as a translation value when other values are translated into this scale.
    Grade ValueEnter the percentage used for calculations when this grade is entered as an assignment score. In a numeric scale, this value is used as the percentage when calculating the number/level as an assignment score.
  7. Click Submit.
    Note: Enter as many conversion scale attributes as needed for the conversion scale.

Custom List

The Custom List displays standards in a hierarchical list.

Set Up the Custom List

After defining the conversion scale, you can edit the scale attributes.

  1. On the start page, choose District under Setup in the main menu.
  2. Under Grading, click Standards.
  3. Click Custom List Settings.
    Note: Use the list settings to search for a particular standard by multiple criteria. However, after you submit the search, enter new standards using the criteria defined by your search.
  4. Use the following table to select a search comparator:

    ComparatorDescription
    (Blank)Ignore this field.
    =Must be an exact match.
    #Must not be an exact match.
    $Contains.
    !$Does not contain.
  5. Use the following table to search for a standard:

    FieldDescription
    IdentifierEnter the code used by administrators for reporting and by teachers for designating to assignments. Must be unique.
    NameEnter the name of the standard.
    LevelSelect the level identifier from the pop-up menu.
    Active StatusSelect the standard's active status from the pop-up menu.
    Course NumbersEnter course numbers separated by commas.
    Subject AreaEnter the global naming convention for the subject area for the standard.
    DescriptionEnter a description of the standard.
    Conversion ScaleSelect a previously defined conversion scale from the pop-up menu.
    Grade ScaleSelect a grade scale from the pop-up menu.
    Teachers Score this AssignmentDo one of the following:
    • Select Yes to include standards that you have marked for teachers to score.
    • Select No to exclude those standards.
    Exclude From ReportsDo one of the following:
    • Select Yes to include those standards in the custom list that you have marked for exclusion from reports.
    • Select No to exclude those standards in the custom list that you have marked for exclusion from reports.
    Sort OrderSelect the sort order from the pop-up menus. This defines how the search results appear on the page.
    Columns to ShowSelect one or many check boxes to define what the search results display.
  6. Click Submit.
    After searching for the specific criteria, the results of your search appear; however, the results can be blank.

View the Custom List of Standards

After you have defined you custom list settings, you can use this page to view your custom list, create new standards, and edit existing standards.

  1. On the start page, choose District under Setup in the main menu.
  2. Under Grading, click Standards.
  3. Click Custom List.
  4. Click New to create a new standard. For more information, see Manually Enter Standards.
  5. To view and edit standards, click on the name of the standard. For more information, see View and Edit Standards.
  6. To search for standards:
    1. In the Search field, enter a standard name or identifier, and then click Apply. Standards matching the search criteria appear on the page.
    2. Click Clear to remove the search entry.
    3. Click the triangle next to Filter to collapse the search field.
  7. To filter the custom list of standards by school year, click Term in the navigation menu, and make a selection from the pop-up menu.

Standards Data Access Tag (DAT) Formatting

Set up the formatting for the following Standards DAT used in PowerSchool:

  • std.stored.avg
  • std.stored.high

For more information on standards DAT, see the PowerSchool Data Access Tags Supplement guide.

Set Up Standards DAT Format

  1. On the start page, choose District under Setup in the main menu.
  2. Under Grading, click Standards.
  3. Click Standards Data Access Tag (DAT) Formatting.
  4. In the Number of decimal places in percent scores field, enter the number of decimal places to be used when percent scores are present (for example, 3).
  5. Select the Include "%" character in percent scores checkbox to include the percent character when percent scores are present (for example, 89%). Otherwise, leave the checkbox blank.
  6. Click Submit.

List Standards

Display and create new standards using List Standards. You can also Manage Learning Standards.

  1. On the start page, choose District under Setup in the main menu.
  2. Click Standards.
  3. Select List Standards.

    Standards will display if they have been added for that school year. If standards have not yet been promoted to that school year, you will need to create the school year and promote the standards.

Manage Next Year

Use this optional feature to create the list of standards for the next school year during the current year if you have finalized the standards names and hierarchy. After completion, change the names and hierarchy of standards for the next school year as needed without affecting standards for the current school year. Note that if this process is used, subsequent changes to the current year standards will not be migrated to the next year standards list as part of the end-of-year process.

If you do not use this feature, standards will be automatically created for the next school year as part of the end-of-year process based on the names and hierarchy in place when the end-of-year process is engaged.

Create Next Year's List of Standards Prior to End-of-Year

  1. On the start page, choose District under Setup in the main menu.
  2. Under Grading, click Standards.
  3. Click Manage Next Year.
  4. Click Create Standards List.
    Note: The next school year must already be created at the District Office in PowerSchool in order to use this feature.
  5. Navigate to the List Standards page (Start Page > District > Standards) and change the Term to next year to work with the standards you just created.
    Note: You can also create the calculation formulas for the next school year prior to the end-of-year process.
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