A grading policy that counts strictly academic achievement — not attendance, effort or participation in class — was met with criticism last month, and the Oak Creek-Franklin School Board will get more input from parents before moving forward.
The board will hold a meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at West Middle School, 8401 S. 13th St., that will include a presentation on the changes and an opportunity for the public to provide comments.
A committee spent more than a year researching and discussing best grading practices and unveiled the plan near the start of the school year.
Among the proposed changes:
- Behaviors such as attendance, effort, participation and adherence to class rules should not be included in the grades — only achievement.
- Marks for work submitted late should not be reduced; teachers should provide support and focus on whether the learning standard was met.
- Zeros should not be included in the grade determination when evidence is missing or as punishment. Alternatives, such as reassessing to determine real achievement, should be used.
The school district has also proposed adjustments in the grading scales at Oak Creek High School and both middle schools.
- See the current and proposed grading scales.
But the school board delayed voting on the proposal in September amid concerns from parents, who said the grading scale changes could make it tougher for students applying for colleges and scholarships. Some of the policy changes also came under scrutiny.
Patch readers haven spoken out about the changes, too. A sampling of comments:
Lets raise the bar instead of lowering it. No one lets you come in to work late when everyone else gets to work on time.
The "raising the bar" sounds good. However the bar typically gets raised on the students the are higher acheivers. The average students still get the a safety net. Understand that more difficult courses have less questions on quizzes and tests because the problems take longer to complete. If a student gets one wrong on a 5 question test that takes them down to a C. It takes 7 more perfect tests to regain an A for the class. With most classes having 10 test/quizzes per quarter, the margin of error is 1 wrong for a whole quarter. The doesn't teach our kids to acheive. it teaches them them that no matter how hard I work, 1 mistake could pul their GPA down. Our kids need to have a chance to excell. Especially when they compete against student with traditional grading scales. Level playing field is what is called for, not wild expectations that have no correlation to understanding.
What's getting lost in the discussion on grading scale policy is that there are significant policies in effect currently which go against traditional education principles. Why should any student be allowed to continously take a test over and over again until he eventually passes it? Why would tardiness, or failing to show up for a class NOT be a consideration in a student's overall grade? Why would conduct in class also not be relevant to their grade? These are fundamental concepts of education, that are being thrown out for the sake of trying to dumb down the system, hike up graduation rates, and avoid having real discussions with students with consequences to back it up. And I'm confident these policies are not coming from the teachers, who would be the first to tell you that discipline has taken a back seat in recent years.