Grading and Proficiency


Standards-based grading measures what a student should know and be able to do at each grade level according to Colorado state content standards. Under the standards-based system, students are graded on their achievement on class content. Work habits such as class participation and attendance are recorded separately. SBG is currently used in most APS schools.

Currently, APS has planning and pacing guides in place, which include benchmarks, for the core content areas of literacy, math, science and social studies. Benchmarks and levels of proficiency in student work have also been developed for all content areas, including elective courses.

We understand the scores used in SBG report cards might still be a bit confusing for some parents. For this reason, Columbia has developed a simple guide to help you understand what the grades mean:

Proficiency Grades:  A, P, PP or U

  • The majority of students at Columbia receive these scores to indicate their level of understanding related to the State of Colorado Education Standards for each content area (literacy, math, science, social studies, music, art and PE).  The standards are based on where a student should be with his/her understandings about the subject for the grade level they are currently attending.
  • P is proficient, and indicates the student is performing at grade level for the standards that have been assessed during the current reporting period for that subject.  Each subject has standards specific to that content area, targets specific to each standard, and indicators that teachers use to determine how a student is performing.

Letter Grades for High School Classes:  A, B, C, D, F

  • These are associated with our high school math classes.

Choices Grades:  S or U

  • These are for classes such as PRIDE and Intervention classes.  The S means satisfactory progress, the U means unsatisfactory progress.

A student in math intervention can earn an “S” and still have a “PP” or “U” for their proficiency grade in the regular math class.  This is due to the fact that the regular math class is working on grade level concepts such as linear equations while the math intervention class is building skills such as multiplying fractions and learning long division that were missed in past years.  

In addition to these grades, your child will receive a work habits score (1, 2, 3 or 4) for each class.  The purpose of this score is to indicate how hard they are working in class and determine if they are eligible for any school activities (sports, dances, etc).  Students with a 3 or 4 are regularly working in class, participating in groups and discussions, getting extra help and turning in their work.  Basically, they are doing what they need to do to be successful.  Students with work habit scores of 1 or 2 are not putting forth the effort to find success and develop a positive work ethic.  This score is an integral part of a student’s performance and a true indicator of the time and energy they put forward at school and on their homework.

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