Charting a Course to Standards-Based Grading: What to Stop, What to Start, and Why It Matters

book3What’s the best way to ensure that grading policies are fair, accurate, and consistent across classrooms?  How can schools transition to a grading system that better reflects what students are actually learning?  This book makes this journey easier by offering a continuum of options, with four “destinations” on the road to improving assessment and grading.



  • Introduction
  • The Zero
  • Extra Credit
  • Combining Academic Performance with Work Ethic and Citizenship
  • Averaging
  • The Semester Killer
  • Late Work Not Accepted!
  • The Illusion of Objectivity
  • Organizational Conditions Necessary to Move Beyond Traditional Grading Practices
  • Steps in Moving to a Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum
  • A Look at a Standards-Based Unit of Instruction
  • Leadership and Support to Sustain the Transition to Standards-Based Grading
  • Standards-Based Versus Traditional Grading and Reporting Practices–and the Implications for Instruction and Assessment
  • Developing a Multiyear Transition and Implementation Plan
  • Community Engagement and Communication
  • Epilogue
  • Appendix A: Two Standards-Based Units of Instruction
  • Appendix B: Schools and Districts Implementing Some Form of Standards-based Grading
  • References

162 pages C 2016

Click here for a video introduction to Charting a Course to Standards-Based Grading by Dr. Westerberg.


Creating the High Schools of Our Choice

This book provides strategies, tools, and examples to help high school principals achieve the goals put forward in the No Child Left Behind legislation
With its clear examples of best practices in leadership, personalization, and strategic use of data, it will show you how to achieve your school’s academic mission.
From the Foreword by Gerald N. Tirozzi: “I encourage every high school principal to place this book along side Breaking Ranks II on their desk to serve as a guide to your journey”.


  • Introduction
  • Creating High Schools Where Teachers Want to Be
  • Creating a Vision That Teachers Want to Achieve
  • What Teachers Must Do
  • What Principals and Central Office Administrators Must Do
  • Attitudes That Create High Schools Where Kids Want to Be
  • Structures and Programs That Create High Schools Where Kids Want to Be
  • Creating High Schools with a Core Academic Mission
  • Epilogue: Creating the Future?About Littleton High School
  • Reference

175 pages © 2007

Becoming a Great High School:  6 Strategies and 1 Attitude that Make a Difference

In Becoming a Great High School, former principal Tim R. Westerberg emphasizes that significant improvement in any high school must start with improving the quality of instruction in the classroom.  But the isolated efforts of individual teachers aren’t enough.  If your school is functioning like “a collection of individual entrepreneurs held together by a common parking lot,” it’s time for teachers and administrators to work together and pursue comprehensive, coordinated strategies that will help all students succeed.

Westerberg’s 6 + 1 Model for High School Improvement shows how high-achieving schools maintain success and identifies what other schools can do to achieve similar results by

  • Adopting a we-expect-success attitude.
  • Developing clear instructional goals.
  • Adopting a school-wide model of effective instruction.
  • Using frequent formative assessment.
  • Tracking student progress.
  • Providing timely intervention for struggling students.
  • Celebrating student success.

Westerberg provides comprehensive research on high school improvement from leading educational experts, candid examples from his 26 years as a principal, and thought-provoking insights from other high school leaders who have taken up the call to improve their schools.

If you’re ready to take your high school to the next level, this book will give you the tools and strategies to make the leap and create a school that enables all students to reach their full potential. Click here for an video introduction to the 6 + 1 model by Dr. Westerberg.

Additional Resources by Dr. Westerber

  • Educational Leadership, September 2016, The Principal Factor
  • Principal Leadership, March 2013, Feedback for Teachers:Focused, Specific, and Constructive
  • Principal Leadership, December 2012, Moving to Standards-Based Grading: Lessons from Omaha
  • Colorado Reading Council Journal, Fall 2011, Becoming a great High School: Capitalizing on High-leverage Strategies
  • Today’s Catholic Teacher, March 2009, Formative Assessment: A Powerful Influence on Teaching and Learning