Welcome to the latest Superintendent Snapshot. If you have a question or a comment for the superintendent, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Superintendent Bates,
I enjoyed your last message about the Granite Way for Everyone, and agree that having a plan is essential to our progress. With the end of term fresh on my mind I have been thinking a lot about report cards and how they represent student’s progress toward their individual plan for leaning. I have never liked the A,B,C grading system because I don’t think it provides enough information for the teachers and the parents. I think our online grade-book for parents is a great tool to help dig a little deeper into the data behind the grade, but even that can be sometimes be vague. For example, if my child got a 70% on a math test as a parent I wouldn’t know enough from that score to help my child. What I want to know is which areas and concepts do I need to help my child with. For that reason I have been a big fan of standard-based grading, and my question is this: is the district exploring this approach to grading? What problems do you see with transitioning to such an approach, and how would those problems be addressed?
Response – Granite District began exploring standards-based grading almost four years ago. With our focus on teaching the Utah core standards and commitment to regularly assessing student mastery of them, communicating students’ progress toward that end via report card grades has been the logical next step. A secondary standards-based committee was convened in 2011 and has continued ever since. We decided to concentrate on junior and senior high schools first given the current disconnect between proficiency on standards and the high-stakes nature of credits, GPAs, and graduation. We are also well aware that many individual elementary teachers, grade level teams and, in fact, whole schools, have intuitively and/or strategically already moved toward standards-based grade reporting at the elementary level.
Currently we are creating standards-based grading models to be piloted in various secondary situations. We are working on both implementation and communication plans for eventual movement to standards-based grading district wide.
Thanks for your question and to the Teaching & Learning Division for their help in responding.
Question – Is there any plan for the District to move to a standard based report card?
Response – Several elementary schools in Granite District have pursued various versions of standards-based report cards during the past decade. Over the past three years, a district committee has met fairly regularly about the possibility of implementing standards/proficiency-based grading at the secondary level. More recently, the Utah State Office of Education convened a task force to make recommendations to the State Board of Education regarding graduation requirements; one of those sub-committees made detailed recommendations in support of a statewide grading policy based on student proficiency in state standards. Granite District has not moved to create our own such policies as we have waited to see the direction that might be pursued by the USOE. Since no requirements have yet been prescribed by the state, Granite is likely to begin implementation of such an approach in the near future.