01/10/07 — Board member wants uniform grading rules

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Board member wants uniform grading rules

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 10, 2007 1:47 PM

School board member Rick Pridgen said he would like the school system to review the way students' grades are recorded on report cards.

Last year, the board approved schools at the elementary level giving letter grades, while the middle and high schools operated on a numerical system.

At Monday's board meeting, Pridgen expressed some concerns.

"As a parent, I would want to know exactly where on the A scale or B scale my child was standing," he said. "I would not want to find out until the second semester exactly where their grade was, if it had dropped to a C. I would want to know exactly where they are on that seven-point scale because I might need to work a little harder with my child. ... That would prompt me as a parent to go to the teacher and ask what do I need to do to bring this up?"

Pridgen said the system could be a bit deceiving. With the district's goal to continuously improve student grades, it would be beneficial for the report cards to be more specific, even in the earlier grades.

"I'm concerned about it and a lot of teachers and principals are, too," he said. "I feel like it needs to be changed."

Pridgen said he would be in favor of more uniformity in the grading system.

"We're doing two different things in N.C. Wise and we're doing two different things as far as grading goes," he said. "When they get to middle school, at that point we start counting those numbers. I just feel like we have got a better handle on it if we start doing that in elementary school."

Associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction Dr. Sandra McCullen said there are many different schools of thought about reporting grades.

"There's some research that shows that elementary children should not be boxed into that numerical grade," she said. "There's another body of research that shows we need to do levels l, 2, 3 and 4, not even do numerical grades."

Pridgen suggested a survey be done among educators and parents to see if number or letter grades are preferred.

"I can live with it either way," he said. "But if we'll do a survey and see what the parents want and see what the teachers and principals want," whether that be letter grades or numerical.

Pridgen said he had also inquired about the possibility of changing the grading system and was told it could be converted in the spring in time for the coming year.

Dr. McCullen agreed to compile information for the school board to study the matter further.