Historical Timeline and Documents

Historical Timeline and Documents

On this page, you will find our Historical Timeline, which describes the important events and accomplishments on our continuing journey to Grading for Learning. Additionally, you will find resources that chronicle our journey and that have served us along the way. Please bear in mind that some of the specific information in these particular resources may be “outdated,” because they have been replaced by more recent documents and materials.


The History Timeline for Standards-Based Grading


2007 Long Range Strategic Plan

The Long Range Planning Committee made up of parents, community members, teachers and administration developed strategic goals and action plans to be accomplished. Included in these strategic goals was the charge to “…formulate an improved scope and sequence for each core area that will maximize achievement for all students.” Additionally, the measurable objective for this strategic goal was: All students will demonstrate proficiency of the Wisconsin Model Academic Standards. One of the measurable action steps for this objective was to develop student progress reporting aligned with state standards, which is standards-based grading.

2008-Present   Development and continual revision of district level benchmarks

Teachers engaged in training and support for the development of district benchmark statements either by grade level of content. Consultant Jane Pollock, district student learning administration and content team leaders provided the framework and facilitation for this work. Benchmarks were posted on the district website. On an on-going basis district benchmarks and common benchmark assessments have been developed through weekly departmental and cross town Professional Learning Communities. National and state benchmarks are used to inform district level benchmarks.


2011-12   All-staff introduction to standards-based grading & year of reflection

August 2011   Dr. Tom Guskey, an Educational Researcher and International expert on grading reform presented a half day workshop to all teachers on standards-based grading. Dr. Guskey’s presentation and several other articles were posted internally for teachers and to the parent section of the district web-site.


All secondary teachers were asked to consider the philosophical implications of standards-based grading on their practice throughout the school year. Individual teachers and entire departments piloted different aspects of standards-based grading practices. The largest pilot was conducted by the Wauwatosa East English Department. While this pilot had positive parent and student reception, the lack of technical support and readiness hindered the sustainability of the pilot. Benchmark revisions and common assessment development continued. A group of administrators and teachers attended a local workshop on standards-based grading facilitated by Dr. Ken O’Conner, an international researcher and expert on standards-based grading. Dr. O’Conner’s standards-based grading initiative is referred to as Grading for Learning. Grading articles, books, and videos were disseminated to the buildings to serve as resources.


Summer 2012   Secondary principals attended the keynote presentation of Dr. Ken O’Conner, international expert on standards-based grading, at the Wisconsin Education Institute held at Brookfield Central High School. A representative team of secondary administrators met throughout the summer to determine recommendations of next steps in the implementation of standards-based grading. A team of teachers from each secondary building were consulted on proposed changes in practice.


Winter 2013    The Waukesha School District held an afternoon symposium on standards-based grading for representative teachers from the Wauwatosa School District. A panel of teachers answered questions and provided examples for Wauwatosa teachers.


2012-13   Implementation of four required grading practices


Considering the recommendations of Dr. Guskey and Dr. O’Conner, all secondary teachers were asked to make four paradigm shifts in their grading practices: Give students multiple opportunities to learn, minimize the negative impact of zeros, view homework as an opportunity to practice learning and in doing so count homework for 10% or less in a grade, eliminate extra credit not aligned to district benchmark achievement. Teachers adjusted syllabi and provided communication to students regarding the new initiatives.


Building administrators at all four secondary schools held parent education sessions on the four initiatives. Additional resources were added to the parent website.


High school science teachers, as part of their curriculum review worked with the Waukesha School District on benchmark revision, common assessments, and standards-based grading.


September 10, 2013   Board of Education received an update on the grading initiative for the 2012-13 school year.

Fall 2012-Present   Grading committee established

A grading committee was created to assist with the implementation of the standards-based grading initiative now referred to as Grading for Learning. The grading committee is made up of teacher and administrative representation from all four secondary buildings.

May, 2013   All secondary teachers were provided a review and additional training on the development of quality benchmarks by Dave Dentinger, Supervisor of Student Learning. All content areas were asked to review and update district benchmarks. Quality benchmarks are essential to implementing standards-based grading.

Summer 2013   The grading committee released a handbook for teachers in July to provide clarification and support with the Grading for Learning initiative. The grading committee also developed two pilots for teachers to consider for the 2013-14 school year.

Student Learning has worked with Power School staff to build the capacity for the interval scale pilots and future implementation of grading for learning.


2013-14   Continued implementation of four initiatives & introduction of two pilots


Fall 2013   Dr. Eric Twadell provided opening day staff development on the connection and benefits of the interaction between Professional Learning Communities, district benchmarks, common assessments, and standards-based grading.


All secondary teachers were formally introduced to the grading resources, rationale, and expectations for the 2013-14 school year by Beth Erenberger, Director of Student Learning. The “responsibility for learning” and equal interval scale pilots were introduced.


September, 2013   Pilot teachers introduced students and parents to any pilots that they were participating in for the school year. Buildings held parent information sessions.


September 30, 2013   Board of Education received an update on the grading initiative plan for the 2013-14 school year.


September 26 & October 2, 2013   Secondary BLT teams received staff development on Grading for Learning. Based on their learning, BLT teams provided staff development on grading at the building level to all teaching colleagues on October 2, 2013. This will be repeated December 10, 2013.


October 25, 2013   All secondary staff worked in cross town PLCs for the morning session with a focus on grading and assessment Content Team Leaders provided the planning and facilitation for this day. This will be repeated on December 2, 2013.


Buildings required to offer parent education sessions


November 2013   Parent website revised and additional resources were added


November 2013   Secondary Staff surveyed to determine staff development needs




Other Resources



Board of Education PowerPoint


West High School PowerPoint


Guskey 2011