Changing the Conversation Surrounding Student Learning

Posted by Anne Lundquist on 1/28/2019

Throughout the year, we have been highlighting Ankeny Schools’ plan to implement a Standards-Referenced Grading approach in our middle and high schools. Moving forward, teachers will provide additional information on student performance in relation to Grade Level Standards on a report card, in addition to letter grades and grade-point average (GPA).

Spiral notebook with 4 reasons for Standards-Referenced Grading approach. Bottom border is of rulers, scissors, and apples.

In Ankeny Schools, we believe all students can learn at high levels. In a traditional educational system, only students who learned quickly were rewarded. While these learners continuously excelled, others lost self-confidence and may not have met their potential. If students learned at a slower pace, they were not reaching the same high academic benchmarks. Ankeny is moving away from this system to accommodate each learner’s needs and pace, by implementing a  Standards-Referenced Grading approach that emphasizes multiple teaching methods to aid students’ learning.


Today’s learners need to demonstrate more than just speed in finding answers. Instead, they must demonstrate innovative problem-solving and critical thinking skills. The mission of Ankeny Schools is to prepare students for “a lifetime of personal success.” The most effective way to help students do this is to establish the necessary foundation through Standards-Referenced Grading practices.