Schools System Proposes Report Card and Grading Changes

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Talbot County Public Schools presented proposed revisions to the elementary student report cards and the grading system for grades 3 -12 at the May Board of Education meeting.

TCPS established a grading committee during the 2015-2016 school year comprised of three subcommittees, Early Childhood (PreK-2), Elementary (3-5), and Secondary (6-12). Each subcommittee included teachers, administrators, curriculum staff, and parents. All schools, along with a cross section of content areas were represented.

The impetus for establishing the grading committee was two-fold:
• Examine and reflect on current grading practices in light of College and Career Readiness
• Answer the question “Is there a better way to do this?”

The work of the committee was guided by the belief that grades must represent what students know and are able to do. “Our primary role as educators is to promote learning; and therefore, our grading practices must support student motivation to learn,” said Helga Einhorn, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction.

The Early Childhood subcommittee is recommending revisions to the report cards for PreK-grade 2 so that they are more aligned with the Maryland State Standards and the curriculum currently taught. Each proposed primary report card includes the same major headings for curriculum areas in addition to a personal/social development component. The key for levels of proficiency is also the same for all of the primary grades with a 1-4 level designation, as compared with the current three levels. Each grade level report card also includes a place for teachers to write comments specific to student progress.

The Elementary subcommittee is recommending three changes to the proposed report card for grades 3-5. This includes the addition of the personal/social development skills. The second change is the inclusion of a text box for teachers to include specific feedback on individual student progress. The third change is the reporting of student progress as a letter grade rather than the current percentage grade system.

The Secondary Grading subcommittee is also recommending the shift from percentage grades to letter grades on report cards. The committee concluded in their research that percentage grades, while appearing precise, are impacted by many factors, which can include the point values assigned to a specific task, the number of assignments recorded, and whether an assignment is a formative or summative.

Currently TCPS is one of only two counties in the state reporting percentage grades. With the proposed change to letter grades, parents and students would continue to see percentage grades in Power School, but interims, report cards, and transcript will report letter grades.
A= 90-100%
B= 80-89%
C= 70-79%
D= 60-69%
F= 59% and below

Final grade will be calculated using quality points (0-4)

The next steps in the grading committee process will be to determine how these changes would be reflected in 9.25 Student Progress Report to Parents-AR; identify additional policies and ARs that would be impacted; and continue to gather feedback from parents. Questions regarding the proposed recommendations or feedback should be directed to Dr. Einhorn at heinhorn@tcps.k12.md.us or (410)822-0330 ext. 120.

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