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What are your thoughts on the following recommendations?

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Other behaviors that research suggests could be separated from grading include oral presentations, class participation, work habits and neatness, effort, class attendance, punctuality of assignments or class behavior/attitude.

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What other thoughts/concerns do you have regarding recommendation one?

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Below are sample grading scales for review. Next to each scale are calculations of how 3 students (high achieving, mid-achieving & low achieving) would fare academically if 6 of their assignments were graded using that scale. Do you have suggestions of a grading scale for the committee to consider?

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What other thoughts/concerns do you have regarding recommendation two?

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What other areas of grading inconsistency do you feel are most pressing in our schools? This could include, but is not limited to, the use of retakes/redos on assignments, the weighting of grades, the assignment of extra credit and the acceptance of late work.

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What other thoughts/concerns do you have regarding recommendation three?

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Name not shown inside Virginia Beach
April 3, 2016, 7:41 PM
  • Other behaviors that research suggests could be separated from grading include oral presentations, class participation, work habits and neatness, effort, class attendance, punctuality of assignments or class behavior/attitude.

    The items identified under work habits in the sample report card above should NOT be separated from academic performance. They should be included in one grade.

  • What other thoughts/concerns do you have regarding recommendation one?

    I disagree with recommendation one. Real world performance depends on mastery and presentation of content as well as timeliness, organization, etc. We do our children an enormous disservice if we do not teach these
    skills, reinforce them and hold them accountable for these skills throughout elementary, middle and high school.

  • Below are sample grading scales for review. Next to each scale are calculations of how 3 students (high achieving, mid-achieving & low achieving) would fare academically if 6 of their assignments were graded using that scale. Do you have suggestions of a grading scale for the committee to consider?

    If the reason for changing the grading scale is to increase the passing rate, leave the grading scale alone. The assertion that a student has 36 opportunities to pass and 64 to fail is false. It is flawed logic and does not make sense. The opportunity to pass has nothing to do with the grading scale, and every student has the opportunity to succeed. The outcome is not dependent on the grading scale; it is dependent on the student.

  • What other thoughts/concerns do you have regarding recommendation two?

    I disagree with the committee's conclusion that the current grading scale is "too heavily weighted toward failure." Changing the grading scale to increase passing rates is irresponsible and a grave disservice to our
    children. Parents and educators together have the duty and the responsibility for development of the whole child, including mastering content, turning in accurate work on time, and in putting forth best effort on every task the first time, because it all counts and those skills and abilities are inseparable in everyday life. If the passing rate is not high enough according to some metric, diagnose and fix the actual problem instead of changing the scale.

  • What other areas of grading inconsistency do you feel are most pressing in our schools? This could include, but is not limited to, the use of retakes/redos on assignments, the weighting of grades, the assignment of extra credit and the acceptance of late work.

    An approach that may be helpful for minimizing inconsistency from school to school or teacher to teacher is for VBCPS to develop best practices for each elementary grade or secondary school subject. A single grading
    scale for the school system is fine; however, it is conceivable that the guidelines for composition of a grade (percentage range based on homework, tests, projects, etc.) could vary depending on elementary grade level or secondary subject. The best practices should be developed by teachers. Additionally, once the best practices are developed, each VBCPS teacher should be granted the authority to decide, within the best practice
    guidelines, how he or she will determine grades for his/her grade level or subject.
    Additionally, there should continue to be accommodations for special needs students on a case by case basis.

  • What other thoughts/concerns do you have regarding recommendation three?

    Before any more changes are made, please provide the entire VBCPS teacher population the opportunity, in an atmosphere free of reprisal, to provide their input on these standards based policies, and especially to provide feedback on the effect of these policies already implemented at all elementary schools and at least one secondary school. Additionally, this feedback should be made publicly available. As stated at the top of this survey, "the most important assessment of student learning is conducted by teachers as they observe and evaluate students in the context of ongoing classroom activities. The teacher, as an agent of the
    school board, has the responsibility of evaluating student progress and proving grades to represent scholastic achievement." Please allow our teachers to provide an honest assessment of the impact of the standards
    based policies already in place and those being recommended.
    Additional comments:
    The committee should provide the citations for the research from which conclusions and recommendations are being made. The committee should provide metrics which show that the recommendations being made are
    proven to be effective for the entire student population, not just a subset for which this approach might be applicable.

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Recommendation One: Assess academic progress separate from behavior/work habits

The current School Board policy (6-72) on assessing scholastic achievement says: The School Board believes that the most important assessment of student learning is conducted by teachers as they observe and evaluate students in the context of ongoing classroom activities. The teacher, as an agent of the school board, has the responsibility of evaluating student progress and proving grades to represent scholastic achievement. Grading is not to be used for discipline purposes.

Viewing the act of grading solely as a communication of a student’s mastery of content and also recognizing the importance of sound study habits to student success, the Fair and Equitable Grading Committee recommends both categories of performance should be clearly communicated to students and parents. However, the committee suggests reporting progress for academics and behaviors apart from one another.

This means the final grade on any assessment should reflect a student’s academic understanding of the stated learning objectives, and his/her individual work habits should be assessed - and reported - separately. The committee further recommends the use of a proficiency rubric to assess and report work habits. Examples of work habits may include but are not limited to: homework completion, timeliness, and organization.  

As an example of what this reporting could look like, see the sample report card below:

sample report card


What behaviors do you feel should be considered and graded separately by teachers? These behaviors could include, but are not limited to, homework completion, timeliness and organization. 


Recommendation Two: Revise the current grading scale

According to School Board Regulation 6-72.1, the current grading scale is:

  • A = (93 – 100)
  • A- = (90 – 92)
  • B+ = (87 – 89)
  • B = (83 – 86)
  • B- = (80 – 82)
  • C+ = (77 – 79)
  • C = (73 – 76)
  • C- = (70 – 72)
  • D+ = (67 – 69)
  • D = (64 – 66)
  • E = Below 64

The committee felt changes needed to be made to the school division’s current grading scale. Specifically, the committee agreed today’s 100-point grading scale is too heavily weighted toward student failure. For example, in the current grading scale students have 36 opportunities for a passing grade and 64 opportunities for a failing grade.

grading scale diagram

The committee recommends the division explore grading scale options that do not eliminate zeros but mitigate their impact on the student's final grade.


Example One:

sample grading scale 1

Example Two:

sample grading scale 2

Current Scale:


Recommendation Three: Make the Fair and Equitable Grading Committee a standing committee to review and monitor division grading practices and make recommendations as needed.

Recognizing the complexity of the conversation around inconsistencies with grading, the committee recommends this work continue on a regular basis. The committee acknowledges this set of recommendations does not address all concerns about grading, and notes that ongoing dialogue on these issues will only enhance VBCPS grading practices.

 

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