• Performance-Based Learning 2.0

    The Urban Science Academy’s faculty and staff are dedicated to preparing all students for success in college and the workforce through rigorous instruction and high academic and behavioral expectations, with a focus on fairness and equity. A hallmark of Urban Science Academy is the staff’s and faculty’s commitment to collaborating, constantly improving practices in order to better support our students as they strive to meet our high expectations. It was in this spirit that beginning in the 2012-13 academic year the school implemented Performance-Based Grading (PBG). The change sought to better evaluate students’ academic performances in a manner that was more accurate, fair, consistent, meaningful, and supportive of learning. With any new initiative, it is important to reflect on its strengths and weaknesses. Such reflection has occurred with the aid of focus groups and surveys that involved staff, students, and families. It is with this reflection and feedback in mind that Performance Based Learning 2.0 (PBL 2.0) was developed. PBL 2.0 represents a significant revision to PBG and will be implemented effective in SY 2014-2015.

    Hallmarks of PBL 2.0

    Students will be holistically assessed with an emphasis placed on growth pertaining to scholarly habits, academic skills, and content area understanding.

    As a part of considering overall performance--in addition to being provided with feedback and grades on summative assessments (quizzes, tests, labs, debates, exhibitions, projects, essays)--students will be provided with explicit feedback and grades on scholarly habits (homework, organization, preparedness, participation, active learning,


    15note-taking, etc.). Since students were not formally graded on their scholarly habits, many students wrongly perceived that the school did not value scholarly habits. Although this could not be further from the truth, PBL 2.0 has been designed to drive home the message to students that scholarly habit development is as important as their growth in academics.

    Opportunities for Re-Learning (Retakes): Retakes, which were a hallmark of PBG, will remain an integral component of PBL 2.0; albeit with significant changes described below. After all, we know that we learn most from our mistakes. A commonsense “Retake” policy encourages students to embrace teacher feedback and learn from their mistakes so they ultimately grow as learners.