Standards Based Learning

Last Updated: 9/2/2020 8:59 AM

Standards Based Learning

Standards Based Learning simply means that instruction in the classroom is designed with an "end in mind" of each student demonstrating mastery of each standard for the grade level.  All lessons, activities, and assignments are structured to allow students to progress toward mastery throughout a period of time.


Drawing from the work of the following practitioners and researchers, we designed our standards based learning plan for Ballyshannon.

The Basics

  • Teachers use priority standards as their guide for developing units of study for students.
  • For each standard to be taught during a unit of study, a proficiency scale is created.
  • The proficiency scale is a simple, transparent way to communicate to learners how they can demonstrate mastery of the standard over time.
  • Learning is individual.  It will take each child a different number of attempts, a different amount of practice, and a different level of support to reach mastery.  Learning is not one size fits all.
  • The goal is all students reaching mastery, not mastery learning for the few who can reach mastery the quickest.

Traditional Grading

  • Traditional grading combines mastery scores and work ethic scores.
  • Examples of work ethic scores:
    • Homework completion
    • Assignments turned in on time
    • Class attendance
    • Class participation
  • Work ethic and mastery can be combined with any number of recipes to create A's, B's, C's. (see examples below).  For this reason, we chose to separate work ethic from mastery to give parents and learners a clearer picture of their child's performance at school.


The purpose of standards based learning is to more clearly articulate to parents what their children know and don't know as well as their ability to demonstrate lifelong work skills.

Mastery of content is important to progress year to year through the K-12 system successfully and it is important to qualify for post-secondary education, training, or employment.

Likewise, work ethic is imperative to success in post-secondary education, training, and employment.

We report both mastery and work ethic in every subject.

District Standards Based Learning Information

Boone County Schools Standards Based Learning Handbook