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FH Schools: Grading New Report Cards

Report cards will have a slightly new focus and grading system

This coming school year, making the grade is taking on some new meaning for students.

With parents’ input, district administration staff and teachers have been retooling the report cards for grades K-5 and 6-8.

It’s an evolving process for which “we will be seeking feedback from parents after each report card distribution next year; and we will use that information to determine if additional changes are warranted,” said. 

The parents’ survey results revealed overwhelmingly that they wanted to see consistency in the grading process, said Katy Frissora, chairwoman of the Curriculum Committee, who is the lead coordinator of the effort.

How that applied in reworking the grades K-5 reports is that “gradients were added” to the existing numerical scale, such as pluses and minuses (1+, 2+ or -), while units of study were removed.

The result, said Cronin, is what she and the committee believe will “simplify the format of the report card and allow for more nuanced grading.”

For grades 6-8, students will get letter grades that will be “based on a (more) true average of tests, quizzes and projects …” that will exclude other numbers that were there before, Frissora said at the July board meeting.

Those middle school students will also be evaluated on subject-specific standards, because “we can’t take away the standards,” Frissora said. “Though one piece we’re still working on is social learning skills. We’re trying to come up with a common bank that all will use.”

The social skills element is one which teachers and parents expressed in the survey that they feel is a critical element in measuring and nurturing students’ academic and social growth.

The effect the new grading system will have on students is multi-faceted, but hones in on more recognition of effort, Cronin said.

For instance, “a student who does his or her homework at the last minute and gets A’s may not make it to honors with this system,” she said, because more weight will be placed on the effort exerted to make the grade.

And, Frissora said, elements such as placing more weight on homework the higher the grade will also be as part of the new process.

“We feel that the revised report card will be highly informative while also being easy to read and understand,” Cronin said. “Our ultimate goal is to use our student information system to post report cards online, which will save both time and paper.”

Joe Scofi August 03, 2012 at 01:08 PM
One question. How will the school know if the studen did his "HOME" work at the last minute as long as it is handed in on time? This seems to be vague, generally subjective at the best
anonymous August 03, 2012 at 01:09 PM
A student who gets As may not make it to honors? I hope that's a misquote. I understand rewarding effort but this is absurd. As long as the work gets done, why would a student be penalized for doing it "at the last minute?" What's the cutoff for last minute and how are the teachers going to monitor when work is completed? Do the students gets extra points if they can't figure something out and it takes an hour to complete an assignment? Are students "penalized" for understanding the material and completing assients very quickly?
Elaine Van Develde (Editor) August 03, 2012 at 02:09 PM
That's what was said. There will be follow-ups to this. I was one of those procrastinators myself ... I thought, myself, that idea was skewed in favor of one type of student. We'll see what happens as they refine this process.
Peter Sach August 03, 2012 at 06:52 PM
What ever happened to simplicity in grading. Where is the 60 failed, 65, 70,....95, 100 grading system? You knew exactly where you were in standing and how you were performing. With regards to home work, yes it should be part of the grade so grade it and weight it appropriately - say 20-30% of the total grade, as to when it gets done, provided it is handed in on time that is all that our teachers be concerned about - I agree how do you measure effort?
Jamie Walsack August 03, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Thank you for all of your hard work and the countless hours devoted to trying to improve the report cards!
SmallTownAntics September 02, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Simplicity isn't on the FH school's word list! Giving kids credit for 'effort' rather than completing the work correctly is akin to all the kids on the baseball team getting a trophy when they lose the game. Our education system is going down the tubes.
SmallTownAntics September 02, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Jeez, how can we be happy that they devote 'countless hours' to this, and never end up with any improvement? Fail.

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