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School board changes grade system policy
by Savannah Weeks
sweeks@neighbornewspapers.com
September 06, 2012 09:33 AM | 1378 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Paulding County Board of Education members removed traditional number and letter grades from their grading policy as part of a revision Aug. 30.

The board voted 6-1 to amend the board’s Policy IHA Grading Systems to remove a specified grading scale, with District 4 board member Michael Skelton voting against.

The policy now simply refers to Paulding board grading scale regulations for each grade level.

“We sort of flip-flopped the policy and regulation,” said Superintendent Cliff Cole.

The policy is the governing expectations the board sets forth for administrators. The regulation is the implementation of the policy and does not require board action to be changed.

Before the revision, the policy included letter and number grades.

A grading scale is now included in the grading systems regulation but not specified in a board policy.

Fourth-graders will now be graded on a numerical and letter scale, along with fifth through 12th grades.

Kindergarteners are graded on a scale of X – exceeds standards, M – meets standards, P – progressing, E – emerging, N – not yet demonstrated and NA – not assessed.

Grades 1 through 3 are graded on a scale of 1 – 4, with four being the highest grade.

Skelton said he felt the lack of a grading scale in the policy could lead to problems.

“With the grades being stricken, if regulations do come before this board, with this change happening, grading could be changed without this board’s approval,” Skelton said. “I would like to see that grading system back in the policy.”

Cole said he would be OK with the policy with or without a grading scale.

“We feel like from a philosophical aspect, this fits better,” Cole said.

Board member Nick Chester said the revision made for a broader policy statement.

“I think that’s probably as far as we need to go,” Chester said.

“We can dictate letters or numbers, but it’s a fine line for us to say what that relevant information is,” he said, in reference to students’ grades.

Skelton said he agreed that the board should not dictate grades, but felt a broader policy opened the board up to criticism from parents.

Executive Director for Elementary Schools Bonnie Cochran said the purpose of the revision was to allow for flexibility with new standards and regulations like the new Common Core Standards.

“We’re trying to provide ourselves agility,” said Cochran. “We are trying to have our local procedures align with the state’s, and we don’t always know how that’s going to play out.”

Skelton asked for a motion to amend the revision by putting a grading scale back into the policy, but the motion died for lack of a second.
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