Updated physics standards.

I’ve updated my physics and AP-C mechanics standards with two main changes that others are using that I agree with.  I’ve also written standards for my other class – Integrated Science.  For physics, I’m using a similar system and in fact many of the same standards as Kelly O’Shea.  Hey…what can I say!?  Thanks Kelly.  Here are the changes.

Two levels: Core (C)  and Advanced (A)

I’ve decided to go with two levels of standards…core and advanced.  I initially was going to use something in between called ‘intermediate’ but this was really only to give me an easier algorithm for calculating a final grade for students in between the C to A grade range.  I was basically just tagging 1-3 standards per unit as ‘intermediate’ just so I’d have some, even though they weren’t much different than the advanced standards.  They are now gone.  I think this will simplify things for students.

Five standards per unit (a unit was approximately 2 weeks of instruction)

In deciding what goals to write/assess, part of the mentality was that if I couldn’t consolidate them down to five, then I didn’t do a good enough job deciding on what was really important.  If it seemed like there were more than 5 things students should take from the unit, then I rethought how I clumped knowledge.  Quite a few of my former standards got a bit more ‘hefty’ as I changed them.  I ended up lumping more knowledge into each one.  So although a single assessed standard may contain 2-3 distinct abilities, the ability to do those 2-3 abilities was considered one understanding.  Example…


2.1  C  CVPM  I can draw and interpret diagrams to represent the motion of an object moving with a constant velocity.Includes position-vs-time graphs, velocity-vs-time graphs, motion maps. Recognize the features of a diagram that represent constant velocity vs. changing velocity.
Be able to translate from one graph to another or to describe the motion in words based on the graph.
Find the average velocity using the slope of an x-t graph.
Find the change in position using the area beneath a v-t graph.


Showing mastery in this standard involves a number of tasks…each important, but all related to the statement at the top.  This requires students to have to do all of those things, teaches students what it means to ‘draw and interpret diagrams of an object moving with a constant velocity’, and makes assessing this standard in a grade book a bit more manageable instead of punching in each task separately.

So I think a moderately ‘hefty’ standard is a good standard.  

Okay here they are in all their heftiness.

PHYSICS (these are pretty much identical to Kelly’s physics standards)…I may have added a couple of words here and there, but very little.



I also teach a 9th grade course which covers chemistry, physics, and some earth science.  the course is split into two parts A: chemistry, earth science …and B: physics.  The earth science seems a little out of place, but it’s required content.  Here are the standards.



Filed under Standards Based Grading

2 responses to “Updated physics standards.

  1. Pingback: How I wrote my physics standards | laid-back science

  2. Pingback: Looks like a green light « Physics and Barbells

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