I feel pretty sure that I successfully introduced standard-based grading (although I rarely used that term). 8th grade students are familiar with letter grades, but they don't necessarily love them. It was not hard to bring them onboard to the idea of avoiding % and letters for everything.
I opened with this slide, because it's true! "I don't want to treat you like eggs," I said on the 3rd day of school. Someone pointed out that restaurant inspections and movie reviews are also sometimes scored with a letter, but they are very rare in "the real world"...
We discussed that for a little while, after which I badly tossed a Nerf ball to a student, who threw it back much better: "You get how to throw a ball, but it looks like I only sort of get it". Then we could discuss defining what it means to "totally get" that skill. The alphabet is another effective example. All by 8th graders can recite the alphabet now, but there was a time in life when they did not "get it" and when they only partially remembered the letters. Can you do recite it backwards? Z, Y, X, W... I practiced in my car during my morning commute, so by class time I can swiftly get through all 26 letters back to A: yeah, I "totally get" the alphabet because I know it forward and backwards ;)
Now I am doing two things: reinforcing the 5-level mastery scale and introducing class routines. One of my big "Aha!" moments came when I realized that I should introduce the Mission Tracker and SBG system along with my class routines.
I won't go through all the details of my routines, because every teacher has their own. I did produce a very basic video lesson to reinforce things I had demonstrated in the classroom.
I was careful to introduce the Mission Tracker incrementally with the mostly-blank chart above. (The full Mission Tracker is displayed at the bottom of this post.)
Then I displayed items for each mission one box at a time:
Applying this new and unusual SBG system was the best way for students to learn it. These are not "academic" skills, so they should not really get graded and averaged with all the actual Social Studies content. That's a common mistake many of us make: conflating behavioral compliance with content-specific performance. Instead of giving a number or letter grade for proper binder setup, I made it one of the prerequisites for Mission 2 ... and everybody did it! However, I must admit that I offered a "bonus A" for any fully completed mission. In the course of Trimester 1, those extra grades did not really impact any student's average. (The 'overachievers' on these initial practice missions ended up reaching the standard for deeper understanding on most of the official missions later in the term. That is, they were gonna get an A or A- anyway!)
Mission 4 was my annual "introduction to flipping", which requires watching a video on how to watch videos that I made 5 years ago (!!). I realize I should probably write another blog post about that. For now, I will just say that it's another foundational skill with multiple levels of understanding, and this system supported all students to achieve basic understanding and (in most cases) to show clear understanding as well.