PRESS RELEASE

DECEMBER 15, 2020

Alma SIS introduces Standards Based Grading Grade Point Average

Alma paves new grading pathways for progressive education

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Alma Student Information System (SIS) is proud to announce the creation and addition of Grade Point Averages (GPA) added to the Gradebook tool. Standards Based Grading (SBG), also known as Competency Based Learning or Proficiency Based Learning, is rooted in aligning student feedback and progress measurement against the particular skills being taught and assessed, rather than using a single score to cover multiple topics or standards. With a sleek and easy-to-understand design, Alma allows teachers and administrators to manage grading scales, rubrics, GPA scales, proficiencies and more. Alma is committed to improving student achievements immediately by offering progressive grading tools.  

When K-12 districts and schools adopt the more modern SBG, they measure students on what they know and can demonstrate through practice and implementation.  This gives teachers the superpower ability to identify topics of focus, remediation, and acceleration, steadily improving each student’s understanding of the subject matter as a whole.  Alma’s new GPA tool helps schools and districts track student mastery while also providing simplified summaries of student achievement such as class rank and GPA to the institutions, colleges, scholarships, sports teams and more that require them.

As with all of Alma’s features, the SBG GPA  puts the student first. For high school students, their ever-evolving GPA over the course of four years is their personal barometer that sets the tone for their future. With the newly developed SBG GPA, K-12 learning communities can assess the overall performance of a student and share it seamlessly as traditionally done, without compromising their student-focused grading practices.

“Schools adopting competency-based education have many considerations to navigate in that challenging process, and community support for educational change is certainly one of them,” says Dan Morris Head of School at NH’s Pembroke Academy.  “Alma’s ability to solve the issues around GPA calculations when moving from a 100-point scale to a 4-point scale allows educational leaders to focus on the messaging and pedagogy of that change rather than the logistical issues generated by such a monumental shift. When moving to a competency-based system, Alma takes care of the “how” questions giving school leaders the time and confidence to focus on the “why” questions.”

Utilizing the all new GPA system, schools and districts can create their own rubric scales, labels and descriptions, and map them to grade point values. Alma’s Report Cards give educators the power to convey detailed messages indicating that the student learned six new core skills, for example, rather than conveying that the student earned a non-descriptive B or letter grade, for the class. 

As educational technology industry leaders, Alma honors student growth through offering modern and progressive mastery calculation settings.  With more refined feedback, teachers, school counselors and parents will get a clearer sense of the student’s strengths and weaknesses, and the growth mindset is reinforced both by actionable feedback and by mastery calculations that reward improvement more than a student’s starting point.With SBG, educators expect students to learn over time and build upon their skill sets based on clearly defined measurements. 

“We are thrilled to offer a new way for schools and districts to provide precise and nuanced feedback,” says Andrew Herman, CEO and Founder of Alma. “With the all new SBG GPA, students can maintain the familiar numerical GPA while also receiving category and class aggregates that detail which skills the student is proficient in and which skills need to be improved. It’s this robust kind of combination in offering that strengthens students’ confidence in their learning abilities.” 

A school that wants to incorporate SBG but also maintain the traditional GPA can now do so. For schools and districts with limited resources and an overextended staff, Alma helps bridge informational needs so parents know where students are in terms of learning. Offering powerfully expansive grading policy capabilities within its modern and award-winning, comprehensive SIS platform, Alma meets schools and districts where they’re at and takes them into the future of progessive education.

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Contacts

Douglass Mabry | Director of Marketing | Alma
503-358-5301 | douglass.mabry@getalma.com

Karli Rizzo | Public Relations | Alma
503-278-4164 | karli.rizzo@getalma.com

Alma SIS cannot keep growing without the continuing collaboration and partnership of educational leaders like you.

From attending Q&A sessions, panel discussions, webinars, conferences, sending us user stories, and amazing testimonials, your stories have not only impacted everyone here at Alma, but show how deeply you care about the success of your students.

Because of your critical feedback and requests to better serve your learning community’s unique needs, this year Alma has been able to create and rollout programs like:

Navigator, to give administrators a better onboarding experience and more control over workflows across their schools

App Center, to make sure your school or district is able to seamlessly integrate mission-critical 3rd party applications …

And Alma’s Spanish parent and student portal, for more accessible communication with your students and their families, increasing family engagement and promoting equitable educational practices.

Above all, we are incredibly grateful for your tenacity, creativity, care, intentionality, and commitment to the students and families you serve.

We can’t think of anything more worthy of celebration. So here’s to you!

From all of us at Alma, may you enjoy this season of gratitude, celebration, and collaboration not just in this last month of 2021 but into 2022, and beyond.

Alma will be with you every step of the way. Cheers!

Andrew Herman

Co-founder + Chief Executive Officer

Mike Oliver

Co-Founder + Head of Product

Elizabeth Long

Co-Founder + Vice President of Services