Task Force to Review Standards-Based Grading

As part of the process of implementing a standards-based learning model at the junior high, a task force of administrators, teachers, parents and students will look at progress so far and consider ideas to tweak the model by mid-January.

Director of Learning Stephanie Smith outlined the task force plan at the Board of Education meeting Oct. 23. The task force will consider feedback collected from surveys of conducted earlier this month.

The junior high is transitioning to a new model of reporting students’ academic performance that focuses on a student’s understanding of academic concepts and learning behaviors. 

A committee began studying the model in 2013, with elective teachers implementing standards-based grading two years ago. This year, core courses are also using several specific learning standards each grading period to measure student learning on a scale of 1 to 4. Learning behavior and habits are separated from academic skills.

In October, administrators developed surveys to measure understanding of the model and receive feedback from students, staff and parents. Stepping away from letter grades and percentages is intended to help students focus more intently on the learning they need to do and less on earning points.

The task force will review survey feedback and, if warranted, make recommendations to revise the learning model to meet the district’s mission and vision of empowering learners.

Mrs. Smith said the task force will begin meeting in early November. The work of the group will be ongoing and additional feedback may be collected and revisions suggested for next year as well.

Success would be measured by whether students can identify what their learning goals are and and where they are in relation to those goals.

“I want to honor all the thoughtful, hard work of our staff on this,” Mrs. Smith said.

Dr. Hewitt said he wanted to also acknowledge the work of Stephanie and Scott and how important this work is to improve learning experiences for all students.