08/08/07 — Wayne school board approves grading changes

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Wayne school board approves grading changes

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 8, 2007 1:46 PM

Elementary school teachers will soon go by the numbers when it comes to report cards.

The Wayne County Board of Education on Monday night approved revisions to the marking system for students in grades 3-5. Historically, students received alphabetic grading codes of A-F.

Teachers surveyed earlier in the year favored the change, said Dr. Sandra McCullen, associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction. School systems in the surrounding counties are also moving in that direction, she said.

The change will be more reflective of the students' progress, said school board member Rick Pridgen, who had proposed the survey.

"My concern as a parent is if a child had a B, I think sometimes it's human nature to think it's a high B," he explained. "I would be very upset if I thought it was a high B and the next report card found it (had dropped to) a C."

The numerical scale will be a more precise measure of where the student stands, Pridgen said, affording parents the opportunity to work with him before rather than after there is a problem.

According to the grading codes, 93-100 is considered an A; 85-92 a B; 77-84 a C; 70-76 a D; and below 70 is an F.

Pridgen said that in a day and age when educators are under the gun to improve grades and test scores, taking such action just makes sense.

"This more accurately reflects it and I think when they did our survey the teachers felt we would have a more accurate report of where the grade was on the scale," he said.

Currently, there are two report card forms being used in the district. Each can be formatted however the teachers choose, officials said. The newest version, NC Wise, introduced as the state's record-keeping measure, can easily be computed, said Robert Yancey, NC Wise director for the school system.

"It just a matter of hitting one button versus another," he said.

Not all schools in Wayne County utilize the NC Wise system at this point, Yancey said, but are moving in that direction.

"Meadow Lane, Tommy's Road and Carver Elementary have had pilot teams in place approximately two years," he explained. "At the other elementary schools, we'll introduce pilot teams....Hopefully by (school year) 2008-09 we will be full NC Wise implementation in grades 3-5 at all our elementary schools."