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By next year, the grading scale being utilized in Bedford County Public Schools could be changed to a 10-point scale.
The school board is considering a recommendation by school staff to change from the 7-point scale to the 10-point scale, beginning in the 2013-2014 school year. That, according to staff, would give administrators time to work with teachers to understand the new scale and grading system.
Dr. Mac Duis, director of instruction with BCPS, presented the proposed changes to the grading policy to school board members during a regular meeting held last Thursday. Dr. Duis noted that it had been five years since the last revision to the policy.
He said the goal would be to promote healthy practices by teachers to promote student learning within the school system, in a unified manner.
The policy would call for grades to be based upon a formula of formative (student learning activities utilized during the teaching of a topic, representing not more than 30 percent of a student’s grade) and summative assessments, meant to measure learning after the instruction of a topic.
The policy would call for teachers to utilize group learning tasks. Some board members questioned whether that should be stressed in classrooms, because of the group dynamics that sometimes occur—some students doing a majority of the work for the entire group or others being punished because some students don’t carry their load.
Dr. Duis said the committee studying the grading issue felt like group learning is an effective tool. “Those practices were looked at as healthy,” he said.
The proposed policy would also stress that students complete all assigned work, opting for the teacher to work with the student to get the assignment finished as opposed to giving zeroes for work that isn’t finished. “The teacher should make multiple attempts to have students complete the work,” the proposed policy states.
The policy also includes a number of guidelines to avoid “excessive homework” for students, including not more than one hour worth of homework assigned to students in grades 1-3 per night and not more than one and a half hours for those in grades 4 and 5. In grades 6-12 each subject assignment shouldn’t require more than 20 to 30 minutes per night for an average student, according to the proposed policy.
The proposed grading scales would include: 90-100, A; 80-89, B; 70-79, C; 60-69, D; and below 60, F.
“It’s consistent with what some other systems are doing statewide,” Dr. Duis said.
The school board is expected to vote on the policy at its Sept. 27 meeting.