The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

Drawbacks of standards-based learning

February 7, 2022

According to a survey sent to High School students Feb. 4-7, out of the 118 respondents, 61% do not think standards should be used to determine their performance in a class. 

Despite certain benefits, Linton said standards-based learning does not suit all classes.

Elena Alexander

“If it were to be used in a class other than humanities, like a math or science class, I think it’d be harder to implement because a lot of those classes … they’re much easier to do with just raw percentages,” he said. “If we had standards in math, it just wouldn’t— it would feel awkward and not really functional.

Echoing Linton, Olivia Holmberg (’25) said implementing standards-based learning in math classes is unnecessary, and math should continue to follow a percentage system. 

“The feedback is quite clear already,” she said. “With the percentages and with the letter grades, you can look through your test, completely understand what’s probably going wrong, and I find it might be a better idea to continue this system now.”

In addition, Holmberg said because assessing via standards is not clear cut, she feels varying performances can end up with the same grade. 

However, Donovan said the main drawback of standards-based learning is that since it is a relatively new system, it is unfamiliar for many.

“When you first start with standards-based learning, there is a lot of education for everyone involved – for teachers, for students, for families – because it’s different than what they had before,” she said. “And so the drawback is that it’s change, and that requires time to adjust to.”

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