Streamline standards-based grading with IXL

Sheila Berger is an IXL Professional Learning Specialist with nearly a decade of experience as both a classroom teacher and instructional coach.

Over the past few years, standards-based grading (SBG) and instruction has emerged as a particularly attractive method for measuring students’ grade-level achievements. Instead of a single grade or average representing how much work students have completed, students are assessed on each standard taught during a given term through the use of a rubric. 

With SBG, students are given clear learning goals and multiple opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of each standard. Overall, SBG provides a more detailed picture of student learning for parents, teachers, and for the students themselves.

How IXL supports standards-based grading

Monitoring, assessing, and communicating student progress toward each standard can be a daunting task for teachers. Ideally, you’d have a resource that provides standards-aligned content, keeps track of the standards measured for each assignment, then delivers real-time data on students’ work so you can adjust instruction accordingly. That’s where IXL comes in!

Ready-made standards-aligned content

With IXL, there’s no need to search endlessly for standards-aligned resources or to create your own. IXL’s state standard skill plans provide custom-built skills perfectly aligned to your state’s specific standards. 

Each standard is fully unpacked with targeted skills for each concept to help students steadily build their understanding and confidence. 

You can assign specific skills directly through your state standards skill plan, so students can see exactly what you want them to work on.


Mastery-based learning

A key goal of SBG is to guide students toward mastery of each essential standard by providing multiple opportunities to learn and demonstrate their understanding. 

IXL aligns perfectly with this approach in several ways:

  • Each IXL skill begins with key introductory concepts and gradually increases in difficulty to meet students where they are and help them grow. 
  • As students work on IXL skills, they receive immediate feedback to help them learn from their mistakes and strengthen their understanding.
  • Students are given endless opportunities to try again and succeed.

Along the way, the IXL SmartScore accurately measures each student’s current understanding of the concept. Students are able to see their own progress and take ownership of their learning, which is another core component of SBG.


SBG rubrics and the IXL SmartScore

With IXL, it’s easy for teachers to see students’ progress, record grades in SBG rubrics, and use this knowledge to adjust their instruction.

Many SBG rubric grades range from a 1 (does not meet standards) to a 4 (exceeds standards). Here are some recommendations for correlating SBG rubrics with the IXL SmartScore:

  • A SmartScore of 80 indicates proficiency in the skill. For an SBG 1-4 rubric, a SmartScore of 80 might be equivalent to a 3.
  • A SmartScore of 90 represents excellence, while a SmartScore of 100 indicates complete mastery of the skill. In an SBG 1-4 rubric, reaching 90 or 100 might be equivalent to a 4.

Keep in mind that students’ IXL SmartScores will change as they continue to practice skills, so students always have the opportunity to continue learning and improve their scores!


Track student progress

Once you’ve correlated your SBG rubric to the IXL SmartScore, it’s easy to get the exact data you need in IXL Analytics. 

The Score Grid is a great way to track your students’ work in your state standards skill plan. Be sure to use the Standards/Skill plans filter at the top of the page to focus on skills from your plan. Then, you’ll see a real-time look at your class’s progress on each of your state standards.


Clicking on a student’s name in the Score Grid will bring you to the Student Score Chart, which allows you to view an individual student’s progress across all of the standards-aligned skills they’ve worked on. Be sure to use the filters at the top of the report to hone in on the progress you’re looking for. Then, you can print an individual PDF report for the student, or batch print reports for all of your students. These PDFs are useful for any time period, and can even be sent home as your standards-based report card. 



Students also have access to their own Student Score Chart report within their IXL Analytics tab and can easily see their progress. You could make checking this report into a weekly reflection period, as another way to help students build ownership over their own learning.

If you’d like to dig deeper into your class’s progress on a specific standard, the Skill Analysis report is a great resource. You can see exactly where each student is on their path to mastery, allowing you to adapt instruction and group students according to their need for remediation or enrichment. 

IXL Analytics has even more reports that can help you with standards-based grading! Check them out in our analytics guide, or learn more in the IXL Help Center.