CHS to try new grading system

Board changes grading policy at the high school for the fourth time

INDEPENDENCE — The Central School Board adopted a policy formalizing the grading process at the high school, aligning the system used throughout the district.

This is the fourth grading policy used at Central in as many years, said Ben Gorman, CHS English teacher and president of the Central Education Association.

“That’s been rough on parents, students and teachers,” Gorman said. “However, we feel very positive about this one.”

The system is standards-based and has been used at Talmadge Middle School for a few years now.

“Students are coming out of our middle school and they’ve been having (standards-based grading) the whole time,” said Superintendent Buzz Brazeau.

“It’s not different for them. What we’re working very hard at doing is aligning the system, so students are graded the same way in high school as they are in middle school,” he added.

Unlike last year’s system, more responsibility will be placed on students when it comes to homework.

“The new system is a bit complicated to explain to students and parents, but we think it’s a good representation of our values, honoring primarily academic achievement (85 percent), but recognizing the importance of regular practice and other career-related behaviors like attendance (15 percent),” Gorman said.

The system is meant to ensure that students don’t move on with high grades while lacking the skills to be successful in the next class, he said.

“We don’t want them to be sent on just to fail at a higher level,” Gorman said.

Grades will return to a 4.0 grading scale, without the presence of Fs.

“The lack of the traditional F reflects our belief that a student who hasn’t received credit yet isn’t a failure forever,” Gorman said. “He or she may simply have late work to do or a few skills to acquire before acquiring credit.”

Instead of an F, parents and students will see an NC, or no credit.

Brazeau said everyone knows an F means no credit has been earned.

“Philosophically, all we’re doing is not telling a kid he’s a failure,” Brazeau said.

“All I’m saying is if a student hasn’t earned credit, they know they haven’t earned credit. We don’t have to tell them they’re a failure.”

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