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The Blazer

Branson’s student-run newspaper
Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Guide to Objective Based Grading

Everything you need to know about Branson’s grading system, OBG
Karl Schmidt’s freshman physics class dives deep into concepts, assessed through objective-based grading. OBG was implemented for all ninth-grade level classes in 2021.

Starting your first year at Branson is very exciting, and the rest of the school can’t wait to welcome the class of 2027! A new school comes with many new things and questions waiting to be answered. Some of those questions might be: “What the heck is OBG and what does it mean for me?” Both are valid questions!


What is the heck is OBG?

OBG stands for objective-based grading and is simply an alternative method of assigning grades for each entry-level class at Branson. In most ninth-grade classes, you will receive benchmarks given to you in a rubric instead of a traditional letter grade. While it might appear to be a 4-point grading system where 4 corresponds to A, 3 corresponds to B, etc., that is not the case. In other words, instead of an A, B, or C, you will receive a “beginning,” “developing,” “proficient” or “advanced.”

Each assignment will have multiple learning objectives that you will be evaluated on that culminate throughout a unit. Your feedback will be clearly articulated in a rubric filled out by your teacher.


What does it mean for me? 

The answer to the second question is, only slightly, more complex. 

In terms of learning the material, it won’t be any different than you are most likely used to. The difference is that you will be given multiple opportunities to demonstrate skill development over the course of a year, rather than being penalized for a rough first test, for example. The main objective for your teachers is to see growth as a learner over the year.

Branson has put the OBG system in place for the 9th graders as they transition into high school for many reasons. 

First, along with a desire to see growth over the year, OBG lays out concrete expectations for your work rather than being defined by a numerical percentage or simple letter grade. The system is intentionally non-numerical and the skills being evaluated at each benchmark simply allows for more clarity and communication between you and your teachers. 

Second, you all come from very different backgrounds and schools. OBG helps facilitate different learning backgrounds and styles in the transition into high school. 

Third, OBG combats perfectionism that might creep into people’s minds as they receive traditional grades. Proficiency is the so-called “target” and teachers will push you all year to reach your goals but should by no means be the defining aspect of your Branson experience. If you push for “advanced,” that means you are working above and beyond expectations. Congrats! The whole point of OBG is to foster a growth mindset and that no one is perfect.


So what’s the result?

Now you know what OBG is but now you might be asking yourself “If I don’t get letter grades throughout the year, what will that mean for my end-of-year transcript?”. Don’t worry! You will get your OBG grades “translated” onto your transcript at the end of each semester. Each class’s teacher will go over the specific translation scale based on the course material and expectations of the class.

Remember when I said not to worry? The letter grade on your fall transcript will disappear (a.k.a a practice run of Branson classes) and only your spring semester progress will appear on the transcript. In other words, your spring letter grade is based on spring assessments only!

While major assessments are important to demonstrate learning, there are retake opportunities at the end of each semester. Essentially, OBG will focus on your most recent assessment to allow for an evaluation of progression, retention, and growth. 

Keep in mind, your teachers are there to help you succeed and they really do want to help! If you are ever confused about any part of the evaluation process, they are more than happy to talk to you one-on-one.

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About the Contributor
Cooper Tenney
Cooper Tenney, Editor-in-Chief
Cooper Tenney serves as editor-in-chief and first joined The Blazer in 2020. He has received two honorable mentions, one in 2022 for environmental coverage and the other in 2021 for news story, from the Journalism Education Association of Northern California.