Aug. 31, 2013
Last week, the State of Ohio rolled out a new system for grading the performance of public schools. Let me use the following illustration to add some perspective.
Imagine your child -- a student at Cloverleaf -- has always been given clear expectations from his teacher about grading policies, homework and classroom procedures. Your child worked hard and excelled to the point where he has consistently received A’s on his report card, which you know from your school experience means “excellent.”
This year is different, however. Instead of giving your child those expectations clearly at the beginning of the year, the school decides to create a more complex grading system with higher standards for performance throughout the course of the school year. We are going to filter his test scores through this new system beginning this year. At the end of the year, instead of your child receiving an “excellent” grade, we are going to give specific letter grades on his attendance, homework and classroom work using this new system. We are going to add more criteria to it in the coming years. This year, however, he won’t receive a cumulative grade. We’ll give him one in 2015 — just don’t expect it to be as good as his grade used to be, because what was once an “A” is now a “B” in some areas.
If a school did this to a child, you, as a parent, likely would be concerned. However, after your child worked under the new criteria for a time, I’m sure he would excel again. Although it would be upsetting that the rules seem to have changed and may not have been clearly communicated to you as a parent, ultimately, your child will be a better student by the end of his time at Cloverleaf because of the increased measures and accountability.
That is how I feel about the new state report card. Although I would have preferred a system that does not seem to discount our Excellent with Distinction rating from just one year ago, I am motivated by the fact that we have more data, more potential for improvement, and more criteria in which to excel now and in the future.
Although the rules changed and the communication from the state may not have been as clear as I would have preferred, in the end, the true winners are going to be the students of Cloverleaf!
Until next time … Go Colts!