Columbia County may change grading

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ATLANTA --- A trend away from traditional, letter-grade report cards is taking hold in Georgia.

Instead of A-F for math, science, reading and other subjects, the standards-based report cards offer assessments of 40 or more individual skills in terms of "does not meet standards," "in progress," "meets" and "exceeds."

"To put a grade of 90 or an 80 or a 70 on a basic skills doesn't really reflect what the child has learned to do," said Sandra Carraway, the deputy superintendent for student support with the Columbia County Board of Education.

The county is preparing to seek approval for the new report card from the State Board of Education. At the board's June meeting, it approved their use in Jackson and Spalding counties. Whitfield County also has received approval.

Different versions of the cards are being used extensively in California and Hawaii and a growing number of individual districts nationwide as educators adjust to the federal No Child Left Behind Act's goals of ensuring every student receives all necessary skills at each grade level.

"If you are going to change standards, you have to change how you assess students," said April Howard, the assistant superintendent for teaching and learning in Jackson County.

Feedback from parents and teachers has been positive, she said, though she admits the new standards take a little getting used to.

State board members noted the possibility for confusion. Parents accustomed to traditional letter grades now will see initials like "DNM" for "does not meet" in Jackson County, while Spalding County uses "1" for "skill taught, assessed, not yet mastered."

What if families move from one district to another, asked State Board member Mary Sue Murray.

State Board Chairwoman Wanda Barrs doesn't believe the state should specify one standard format. "It's an individual matter for school systems," she said.

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Martinez
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Martinez 06/17/09 - 03:31 am
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Ummmm No - individual school

Ummmm No - individual school systems shouldn't make these decisions, especially in high school when kids from different districts will be compared equally by colleges. If a kid fails a class and has to retake it earning an A on the retake....... some districts would only count the A and some would average the F and the A to get a C. By one district's standards, this kid's GPA is going to be a lot higher then another but this isn't explained when transcripts are sent to colleges. There needs to be statewide standards.

Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 06/17/09 - 03:50 am
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I see this as just another

I see this as just another way for all those upper-level administration people to secure their jobs. Think about it....they create new ways to do something, in this case the way they issue grading, and then they know it's going to take a few years to set it up, teach all the other administrators about it, implement it, review it, improve/alter it to fit what other people want out of it, review it again.....ugh! This one could go on for another few years, and that just means that people like Carraway and her peers can hang on to their jobs longer...at least until another "new" project comes along!

LEO
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LEO 06/17/09 - 06:04 am
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The new grading system sounds

The new grading system sounds rather subjective to me. A letter or number grade is a fairly concrete way of saying that the student is capable or not of correctly answering test questions. A 90, 80 or 70 percent grade is a lot more accurate than 'in progress' or 'does not meet standards' or 'meets standards'. Who's to say that, under pressure from school administrators, teachers won't be encouraged to give 'in progress' assessments of students' abilities to master basic learning skills when a failing grade would be more appropriate? For example, if a student gets one question right on a test when he or she previously didn't get any right, that could be considered progress, in a broad sense. I see potential for abuse with little accountability here.

mvickrey
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mvickrey 06/17/09 - 06:54 am
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It is amazing to what lengths

It is amazing to what lengths the school board will go to remain aloof of their responsibility! Normally standards are changed for one of two reasons: Either the one's responsible for conducting the evaluation are inept at doing so...or the ones being evaluated cannot rise to the standards set so the bar must be lowered. I am not sure which it is, but having a son graduate in the upper end of his class and then fail his Regent's exam may be an indicator. Can someone please raise my property taxes more so my kid can feel good about "making progress" in Columbia County but not being able to compete with REAL SCHOOLS to get in college?

bone
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bone 06/17/09 - 07:28 am
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when your son took his

when your son took his regents exam was he behaving socially & educationally as he was in high school? just wondering, mvickrey - i always hate to hear stories like your son's. anyway, as a teacher in a non-core subject, does this mean i still use number / letter grades? hmm...

Little Lamb
49303
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Little Lamb 06/17/09 - 08:14 am
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How would the proposed

How would the proposed grading system feed into HOPE scholarships? How do you translate DNM into "B average?"

grammar police
1
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grammar police 06/17/09 - 08:22 am
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I've been told (as a CCBOE

I've been told (as a CCBOE employee) that this system will probably never be used in high school because colleges will not accept standards-based grades.

onehotdog
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onehotdog 06/17/09 - 08:51 am
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This is another way to keep

This is another way to keep Little Johnny from getting his feelings hurt when he doesn't do as well as Little Suzy. Also, as LEO said, it is another way for the systems to "fudge" the scores to show they are doing better.

hurlyburly11
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hurlyburly11 06/17/09 - 09:54 am
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dumbing down

dumbing down ....................

egan01
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egan01 06/17/09 - 10:19 am
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If the student gets less than

If the student gets less than a 70 on a test he deserves to fail. Half the freshman college class sits in a class that they should hav passed in high school. I have interviewed high school grads that could not read a tape measure and tell me how long a piece of pipe was.

gnx
7
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gnx 06/17/09 - 03:22 pm
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A hearty Amen to hurlyburly's

A hearty Amen to hurlyburly's 10:54.

0
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John Klement 02/11/10 - 12:48 pm
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a

a

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