I think the "F" is self-explanatory. We might disagree about the You get it level if you think that achieving the standard / objective deserves an "A" grade ... or maybe only "C". I believe proficiency belongs in the "B" range, which is acknowledged as satisfactory, but leaves some room for improvement.
As I implemented this system through the year that seemed to work out quite fairly, and in line with my previous breakdown of grades. There were not significantly more C's or A's this year than past years.
If a student only achieves "basic understanding" for a mission in the course of a 3-4 week unit, then they earn a D for that mission because they have not achieved the objective: they have a few of the pieces, but didn't come close to clear understanding of why communities have a form of government. Also, it does not matter how many times a student needed to retake the assessment, although I kept track separately in my paper gradebook. If you're curious this is the video students were assigned and here is the note-taking sheet I provided.
For an "A" grade, students must complete all the other tasks as well, as represented by the red checkmarks. Yes, I imposed a deadline ... and yes I know that's not pure mastery-learning best practice. For my own sanity, I cannot let these missions persist for multiple months.
Sometimes, though, student performance doesn't fit neatly into these three columns. What if a student's reflection on the class constitution only included 1 clear reason, instead of the required minimum of 2? In that case, I would judge the task incomplete and give some time for a "mission reboot" to revise that item. If the student didn't do so before the mission deadline, then I invented an in-between grade of B/C -- the 5 percentage points probably don't matter a goshdarn, but at least the students prior effort was acknowledged. I soon realized that I should do the same for the highest level: invent an in-between grade of A/B to reflect an incomplete attempt at thoughtful reflection.
Those situations were rather rare, but this option was helpful to me as I judged students' submissions. I didn't want to just accept every attempt as worthy of a checkbox; also I didn't want to be too draconian by giving no credit for a somewhat flawed effort.
- Mission 1 was a "C" even though the student wrote a full reflection, because they skipped or greatly underachieved on the first task for clear understanding. It's nice that they reflected so much on the class constitution, but I haven't seen evidence they can "explain why all communities have government"
- For Mission 2, this student needed at least 2 chances at making an appropriate dialogue about rights and human nature. When students fell short on a task, I circled the checkbox on their Mission Tracker to indicate that a mission reboot was needed. The time spent on that revision is usually the time some other classmates could devote to the "A" level option.
- This person rocked it out for Mission 3!
This student would have a "B" (85%) term grade right now, and that seems just right to me. They have a somewhat lopsided understanding -- stronger on the Declaration of Independence than the concept of government -- but I am satisfied about their overall knowledge from this foundational unit of Civics.
How do I get students & parents to buy into this unique system?
Coming up next time!