The Life & Death of a Grade

We have all received them. We have all probably spent sleepless nights worrying about them. We may have even been punished or praised because of them. Yet, as adults, they have no future bearing on our lives. But at one point in time they were very important and they did make a lasting impression on us and on our future. It is the GRADE.

In the past, the letter grade of an “A” means you’re a genius and perfect while a letter grade of an “F” means you have failed and not worthy. This is wrong. Letter grades are nothing more than indicators of how someone is doing in their academics. Do not try to make more or less out of them. With that being said, what does a letter tell you about your child’s knowledge of the subject? Does an “A” mean they can read everything in front of them? What does a “C” mean? We have always been told that “C” means average, but what does average mean? This is the world of grading as it has been for many years, but what does it really tell us? As a parent, you want to know if your child can read, write or do grade level math.

At the elementary center our new report card, which is part of the new student information system, has changed for this nine weeks. We will continue to modify the report until we feel that we have a quality tool that answers common parental questions rather than just a letter. Each student will receive a traditional letter grade for ELA, Math, Social Studies and Science. But under those classes we will have more relevant information. For example, in ELA, we have several subcategories. We have reading, grammar, spelling and handwriting. Those subcategories will be given a mastery, progressing or needs improvement indicator. This will help you, as the parent; see what a strong subcategory was and which subcategory the student may need to work harder. That isn’t all. Below those subcategories we have indicators. They give even more detail into how your child is doing in that subcategory. This indicator will come in the form of checks, asterisks, and minus. This will again give you an even deeper understanding of how your child is doing not only in the overall ELA class, but all of the other mini subjects that make up the whole. Not all subjects have quite that many levels of grading. For example, math does not have any subcategories but does have indicators so you will still be getting more detailed information.

Since this is a new report card there may be some errors along the way. Do not be concerned as we are always willing to fix errors. The best means of knowing how your child is doing in school is really not a report card at all but a steady diet of dinner table conversations and regular communication with the teachers. Any way you look at it SPEC is excited about our new report card and is here to help you navigate through your child’s academic career.

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