ABC’s going to 123’s for Wichita school grades

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Parents of elementary kids in Wichita schools will soon get a new report card.

“Students own their learning, and they know where they are,” said Christina O’Toole, USD 259 head of curriculum. “And know how to get the grade they want to receive.”

It’s called Standards-Referenced grading. K-5 gets it this year. Sixth through eighth grade will get it next year, and the year after, it goes to high school students.

Instead of an A, B, C, D or F, students are on the 0-4 scale.

In the new grading a 0 is failing. The number 1 is emerging with a 2 showing a student developing. A 3 shows the student as proficient. The 4 grade is advanced, or, knowledge which exceeds grade-level standards.

Some teachers say they are excited about the change, but parents may be on the learning curve with the new grading.

“So, it’s really going to be a shift for parents.” said Leslie McEntire Washington Elementary teacher. “But at the same time, I think it will be very good for them because instead of their student coming home and saying what did you do today? Oh, nothing. They will be able to tell them exactly what they did and what they are working toward.”

McEntire says it will be so specific for students that parents will really enjoy it after they get to understand it.

Parents can go to school on the grading. There will be learning sessions with parent Q & A sessions on August 28, and September 5, 10 and 25.

“We really think that we are going to see a lift and a rigor in the classroom,” said O’Toole. “And we know that teachers are going to be teaching with more clarity, and students will be more clear with what they need to know.”

O’Toole says there will be a traditional A, B, C, D, F conversion chart so college admission departments will have a typical 4.0 scale to look at for admitting students to colleges and universities. The district expects the conversion chart to be online by the end of the 2019 year.

O’Toole also explains kids can get a 2.0 or a 2.1 or a 2.2 and so on for different areas of study. And kids can expect to see a lot of 2’s during the year.

A 3.0 is expected by the end of the year for each class. While a 3 is considered an A, anything above that is above and beyond.

There will be some changes for extra credit. Extra credit will no longer be given for participation things like bringing tissues to class or helping the teacher during school.

Extra credit will only be applied to academic items. Behavior items will be graded separate from academics.

USD 259 says one of the goals with Standards-Referenced grading will be to better align with state testing. But the main goal will be giving kids and parents more specific grading instructions to motivate kids and allow teachers to better teach.

“So with this, we will be able to show specifics and ask specific questions of kids,” said McEntire. “Is it that standard that you need more work on? So it’s really more positive for the students and lets them set specific goals for themselves.”

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