Standards-Based Practices are a way of thinking about instruction, assessment, and grading that more clearly communicates how well students currently understand the grade-level standards or skills. Standards-Based practices allow parents and students to understand more clearly which of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) students have learned and which ones need re-teaching and/or re-learning. The goal of standards-based practices is for students to take ownership of their learning. When students are involved in the learning process by knowing their strengths and where they need to improve, they can work with their teachers and parents to set meaningful goals, strive to achieve the goals, and experience success. 

The Differences Between Assessment and Grading

The goal of Frisco ISD’s assessment and grading system is to communicate current levels of student mastery to all stakeholders.


The purpose of assessment is to gather evidence of student learning so that we can provide timely and continuous feedback to students and parents in order to track progress and make informed instructional decisions regarding what needs to be re-taught and/or re-learned. Assessment tools include traditional paper-and-pencil tests, projects, written papers, lab reports, or verbal assessments, but they may also include classroom discussions or teacher observations. Essentially, everything that a student does in a standards-based class provides the teacher with evidence of the student’s learning.


Grades are one way to provide feedback to students on what they know and are able to do at a specific point in time. Grades should represent the level of knowledge and skills that a student has gained. Reported grades are a necessity for certain processes (eligibility, gpa, rank); however, grades are just one way to monitor a student’s journey to mastery.

Standards Are Rooted in the TEKS

Standards, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), outline required curriculum for what students should know and be able to do for each course or grade for Texas public schools. New state standards for Texas were first adopted in 1997. These standards have gone through revision over the years, but remain the required standards for students in Texas public schools. These standards are adopted by the State Board of Education after extensive input from educators, parents, business and industry representatives, and employers.

Standards are not new in Texas. In 1979, the state implemented its first standardized test for students to measure student achievement. Learn more about the history of assessment and its link to TEKS.

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