Standards-Based Grading Expanding this Fall

The Nampa School District will expand standards-based grading to secondary schools beginning this fall. This new way of grading students better communicates what a student knows and assesses his or her progress toward mastering pre-established learning targets.

Elementary schools have been using standards-based grading since 2014; it will be adopted districtwide in fall 2020. In the 2019-2020 school year, a secondary model will be piloted at East Valley Middle School; Lonestar Middle School; in English and visual arts classes at Skyview; in English, social studies and visual arts classes at Nampa High; and in agriculture, photography, broadcasting, information technology, and family and consumer science at Columbia High.

A standards-based grading system measures a student’s mastery of content standards by assessing their most recent and consistent level of performance. A student who may have struggled when they first encountered new material at the beginning of a course may still be able to demonstrate mastery of the standard by the end of a grading period. A grade of 1, 2, 3, or 4 will reflect where that child is on the road to fully understanding a concept.

In a traditional grading system, a student’s performance over an entire quarter is averaged together. Early quizzes, classwork, or tests that may have been scored low are averaged with more proficient scores later in the course, resulting in a lower overall grade than the current performance indicates.

You can learn more about standards-based grading and how it compares to traditional letter grades on our website at