School Ditches Letter Grades for Numbers
From spelling tests... To math quizzes -- we know many of you are working hard to bring home good grades. But what if that 'A' turned into a... 4?
In Minnesota, middle schoolers will bring home report cards with three's and four's on it instead of A's and B's. Their school district is moving to a numbered grading system that administrators say will better reflect true feedback on actual learning.
John Lauritsen explains.
--REPORTER PKG-AS FOLLOWS--
THESE WAYZATA EAST MIDDLE SCHOOLERS ARE ALL STRIVING FOR "A'S." BUT WHEN SCHOOL STARTS AGAIN IN THE FALL, NUMBERS WILL DETERMINE HOW WELL THEY'RE DOING.
(Paul Paetzel, Principal) "Letter grades have evolved over time to something that really relies on averages. And averages really distort the true feedback on actual learning."
INSTEAD OF A-F GRADES, WAYZATA MIDDLE SCHOOLERS WILL SEE A 4, 3, 2, 1 SCALE- THAT PRINCIPAL PAUL PAETZEL CALLS "GRADING FOR LEARNING."
A 4 MEANS THE STUDENT IS EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS, THREE MEANS EXPECTATIONS ARE BEING MET AND A 2 MEANS THEY'RE APPROACHING EXCEPTIONS..
(Paul Paetzel, Principal) "One means you are really working at it, it's just not sticking yet so you have some work to do."
BUT PAETZEL SAYS THE MAIN DIFFERENCE IS THAT GRADING FOR LEARNING ALSO FACTORS IN THINGS LIKE TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS, BEHAVIOR, AND HOW HARD THE STUDENT IS WORKING.
PAETZEL SAYS A LOW LETTER GRADE MAY NOT REFLECT JUST HOW FAR THE STUDENT HAS ACTUALLY COME.
(Paul Paetzel, Principal) "Working hard is an important part of success. How do we deal with when we encounter obstacles and how do we deal with failure."
(Sarah Clinite, Parent) "It was a little confusing at first as a parent."
SARAH CLINITE HAS A STUDENT AT EAST MIDDLE SCHOOL. SHE SAYS SHE'S GONE FROM BEING SKEPTICAL OF THE NEW SYSTEM, TO SUPPORTING IT.
(Sarah Clinite, Parent) "But i think it's a better tool to see where your child is in understanding the material more than a letter grade. It translates better into what they are learning."
School administrators say high schoolers in the district will still receive letter grades, but more districts are considering moving to the numbered grading system.
Which brings us to this week's survey question. We want to know: if you could choose how you would like to be graded, which method would you choose? Let us know -- and after you vote, be sure to write to us and explain your choice.
Magazine Article: Scholastic Action, Goodbye Grades, September 19, 2011