Sunday, June 7, 2009

Grade Confusion

To Whom It May Concern:

After reading the Chicago Tribune’s front-page story on grading, I found myself in complete awe that there are so many options. My daughter is in kindergarten and I felt comfortable with the 1-4 grading system this year. What I am confused about is the fact that this will be changing for next year. Why is there this need to change the grades after each school year?

I understand that my child receiving some 2s on her report card means that she needs improvement in this area. I don’t understand why we need to change this system for next year. I try to work with my daughter outside of school on the areas she needs improvement, but I cannot do this if the report card is changed each time. Will the next year include letter grades or number grades? Why can’t letter grades be used for all the grades?

While it may be shocking to you that parents don’t want to read through all the fine print of the report card, it shouldn’t be a shock that it doesn’t happen. I wish that information had been given to me at the beginning of the year explaining that the report cards will be changing each year and a new system will be used. If this article was not written, I would never have known there would be a change and my daughter would continue to perform poorly in some areas. Can we please figure something out to make this easier on everyone?


Jessica Lewis

Dear Mrs. Lewis,

After reading your concerns and the article in the Chicago Tribune, I can completely understand your confusion. Here at Wilmette School District 39, we attempt to help the children progress in every way possible, which means that standards-based grading must be used.

This grading is actually more helpful for you and the child because it tells you specifics about your child’s needs. Instead of just putting letter grades of averages, we attempt to show you how well your child’s competency in handwriting is, for example. We are currently changing this each year because we are trying to find the best grading system to use.

Letter grades that are averages of overall class assignments are not best suited for the elementary level, or for your child. We hope that you will stay patient with our testing and allow us to find the best way to educate your child. If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact me directly.

Thank you,

Joseph Breen

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