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School Board Delays Vote on Grading Policy Changes

Several parents attended an Oak Creek-Franklin School Board meeting Monday night and voiced concern about proposed changes to grading procedures at the high school and middle schools.

Amid concerns from parents, the Oak Creek-Franklin School Board on Monday held off implenting changes to grading policies at the high school and middle school.

The proposed changes include adjustments so that and the district's two middle schools operate under the same grading scale.

The standard to reach an 'A' would remain the same. Superintendent Sara Burmeister said a miscommunication led many to believe the percentage needed for an A . It would actually remain the same — 93 to 94 is an A-, 95 to 98 is an A, and 99 to 100 is an A+.

"It was never our intent to raise that," Burmeister said.

However, criticism remained for other aspects of the proposal.

Specifically, teachers would no longer deduct points if work is turned in late. Administrators say grades should truly reflect of how much knowledge students gained in a class. They said teachers would still deal with students who turn in assignments late, just not through the grade itself.

"The behaviors are just as important as the achievement, but it doesn't reflect what the student knows about the content," said Lisa Kujawa, assistant superintendent for student learning. "It just reflects some of the behaviors that we need to work on."

But some parents disagreed with that, saying students who turn in work late should not be treated the same as those who do the right thing and complete assignments on time.

Parents also wondered if dropping the standard to pass from 70 to 67 was a good thing.

Administrators said that represents a compromise between the middle school and the high school grading scale. It is now 70 at the high school and 60 at the middle school, and the district wants those scales to match up.

School board members said several questions still need to be answered and want to give the proposal a closer look during a committee meeting on Sept. 24. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the , 7630 S. 10th St.

In the meantime, the high school and middle school will operate under the same grading scales and procedures as previous school years.

Grading changes overview

A committee of teachers and principals spent more than a year researching and discussing changes to grading practices at the high school and middle school level.

The following is the proposed grading scale for 6th grade through 12th grade:

A+ 99-100
A 95-98
A- 93-94
B+ 91-92
B 86-90
B- 84-85
C+ 82-83
C 78-81
C- 76-77
D+ 74-75
D 69-73
D- 67-68
F 66 and below

These are best practices the committee identified for reporting achievement:

  • Behaviors such as attendance, effort, participation, adherence to class rules, etc. should not be included in the grades; include only achievement.
  • Marks for "work" submitted late should not be reduced; teachers should provide support for the learner and focus on whether the learning standard was met.
  • Limit the use of points for extra credit or use of bonus points; seek only evidence that more work has resulted in a higher level of achievement.
  • Provide clear descriptions of achievement expectations; use evidence gathered by implementing quality assessments.
  • Use summative evidence and assessments to determine grades. Homework should count no more than 10 percent of the final grade and only included when feedback is provided by the teacher. Homework that is simply checked off as being completed should not be included in the student's grade.
  • Include students as part of the grading process; they can and should play key roles in assessment and grading and ultimately it will promote their achievement.
  • Zeros should not be included in the grade determination when evidence is missing or as punishment; use alternatives, such as reassessing to determine real achievement. Indicate that assignments are incomplete or that there is insufficient evidence available to encourage students and give opportunities to complete missing assignments.
OC parent September 12, 2012 at 11:14 AM
ACT scores are dropping in our school district. The board spent close to 1 million bucks on the football field when most places raise the money with the sports supporters. The grading scale is just more pointing to a school board and administrator that are in moving Oak Creek in the wrong direction
Chris September 12, 2012 at 12:15 PM
I always chuckle at some of the "solutions" educrats come up with. You hear them espouse doing "team" projects as that's how it is in the "real world", yet come up with things like not holding students accountable for turning in assignments on time...as if accomplishing tasks late without consequence happens in the "real world". As far as having the grading scales match up between the levels of schools...I find that to be an exercise in how to waste ones time. Why does it matter? As kids become adults, things get harder, and the consequences of their choices/skills/talents more black and white. How about we focus on how to raise test scores on the ACT, figuring out how to assess teacher performance, and figure out a way to stop all the fights that go on at the high school.
Rose J September 12, 2012 at 01:58 PM
So lets just make it easier on the children instead of having consequences for their decisions. And leave the consequence reinforcing up to the teachers instead of the children and the parents. No the child needs to be accountable and if the performance and the guidelines of the work all need to be considered in the grade. Why do we need to lower the standards for these students. How about raising the standards and trying to create some future productive adults? OC educational board dont be afraid to raise the bar alitle.
wiplayer September 12, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Why aren't they grading on a standard scale? A's range from 90 - 100, B's range from 80-89, C's range from 70 - 79 D's range from 65 - 69 and anything below 65 is an F. The current system is very frustrating to follow and understand. It may increase scores but much of the country follows this pattern. What is most important are test scores and ACT/SAT. Oh - and yes, you lose one grade level for late work (example A+ becomes B+)
wiplayer September 12, 2012 at 06:10 PM
oh- one last comment from me - group projects don't work in a grading system. in a group of 5 kids two or three will carry the load but all receive the same grade. Leave group projects as "classroom" projects where the entire class works on a single project but each student is given a piece of the prject to work on. Group projects are better suited for college classes.
Chris Dilts September 12, 2012 at 11:07 PM
"Raising the bar" as you put it will put your student at a disadvantage when appling for college and meeting criteria for Scholarship. Did you know that at Greendale an "A" is given for a grade of 90%. At OC that is a "B". one is a 4.0 GPA and the other is a 3.0 GPA. Which one will get the acceptance letter, scholarship and job offer.
Brian Biersach September 12, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Let's step back, and decide what we are trying to accomplish here. We're trying to prepare students for their life and success in their careers. Do these changes promote this? No. We need to have consequences for late work, and grades are really all that students have to judge their abilities. This does not help anyone, except perhaps the ease of ranking of teachers.
OC parent September 13, 2012 at 02:07 AM
All I know is Oak Creek School District is an embarrassment to anyone who knows what good school districts are. The board is known to parents as the "Bobble Heads." Bobbling up and down when their administrator tells them too - who they keep giving raises to. What a disaster.
styxfan September 13, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Here we go again...School Board in bed with the Teachers Union. Have to inflate the grades to prop up the educational achievements. So sad!
Chris Dilts September 13, 2012 at 02:36 AM
like
Darrell September 13, 2012 at 11:58 PM
The teachers union was eliminated, remember?
Knight Backer September 14, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Not in OCF. I am a proud WEAC Member. When we speak, Burmeister and the board says Yes. As a parent supporter of our public school district, I am worried about the future of the OC Public Schools.
Knight Backer September 14, 2012 at 01:49 AM
All of us in the OC public schools know Burmiester worked very hard on the grading scale. This is what she has been talking about for over a year to us. Now she throws it away when the teacher union questions her. We speak, she says How High does the Union Want me to Jump?
Be Logical September 14, 2012 at 02:08 AM
I've spoken to many OC teachers and couldn't find one that agreed with the new scale. Their input was not considered at all. Not sure where Knight Backer is getting his/her information.
CB September 14, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Not so true....just check and see if any teachers got a raise...... Also, this grading scale is a disadvantage to the kids who do their daily work, and work hard....good for the slackers!
wiplayer September 14, 2012 at 04:37 PM
I'm not sure it's a teacher or teacher union issue. I think the school board is trying to do what is right I just belive that they need to look at other areas(in state and out of state districts) instead of trying to tweak what they are currently doing. There are better plans out there. Why not look at the most sucessful and see what they are doing?
wiplayer September 14, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Darrell - serious or facetious?
OCHS Parent September 19, 2012 at 04:48 PM
I was told many teachers were on the commitee. is that not true?
OCHS Parent September 19, 2012 at 05:04 PM
I have posted a list of some of the area schools grading systems. It is in the Photo area of the patch. Unable to post here. It is just a sample but very interesting.
OCHS Parent September 19, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Go to the Picks&Clips section and scroll to the left. The icon looks like a Rainbow.
WIPLAYER September 20, 2012 at 07:57 PM
OCHS Parent - thanks for putting that out there. Looks like the majority of the districts use the A- to A+ as 90% to 100%, B- to B+ 80% to 89% and so on. What is gained by OC using a different scale?

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