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Letter About Standards Based Grading

"August 12, 2015

 

Dear Parents,

For the 2015-16 school year, 5th grade science classes at all three WISD intermediate campuses will pilot a Standards Based Grading approach that has been developed by WISD teachers and administrators.

This approach will not change the report card as you know it nor will it change the grading scale of 0 to 100 that you are used to seeing.  You will, however, see a change in the way teachers enter grades into Skyward and you will see a change in the “re-do” practices in the 5th grade science classroom.

Standards Based Grading is a research-based philosophy that focuses on evidence-based learning and not on assignment completion or compliance.  Mistakes do not become a permanent part of a students’ grade.  Instead, students are allowed to complete a new assignment or take a new test on the same standard in order to demonstrate for the teacher that they have, indeed, mastered the content.  However, this is not a “free pass” for students and students should understand pretty quickly that purposely falling behind makes the course much, much more difficult. This philosophy simply gives students who need more time to learn/understand topics within a particular assignment the time to do so.  As a parent, you will be notified if assignments are not submitted in a timely manner to ensure your student keeps pace with the class and does not fall behind.  An important piece of standards based grading is the “re-teach” that occurs and any student who struggles with a concept will be expected to work with their teacher during class time, review their work, and possibly attend tutorials.

5th grade science teachers will be using a new grade code – NY – that stands for “not yet” and they will be teaching this “not yet” philosophy to your 5th grader.  You will see this grade code in Skyward if your student has not yet mastered content being taught in the 5th grade science classroom.  When you click on the “NY”, you will be able to see the current grade on the assignment as well as any notes the teacher has made.  The “not yet” philosophy will be coupled with a skills folder that students will use in class.  This folder will allow them to track their progress on the content standards so that they clearly know the topics they have “not yet” mastered.

 

If you would like more information on Standards Based Grading, I would like to suggest the following resources:

·       An overview video produced by ActiveGrade can be found at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7m4762pjH8

·       Research and information from The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development http://www.ascd.org/research-a-topic/student-assessment-and-grading-books-and-articles.aspx#articles

 

Your intermediate campus principal will be hosting a curriculum night within the first month of school. More information on this change will be shared at that meeting.  In addition, your child’s 5th grade science teacher will be sending home more detailed information on how this philosophy will be implemented in their classroom.

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or your student’s principal.

 

Sincerely,

  

Kerry Gain

Director of Curriculum"