It looks like staff managed to defuse concerns school board members had about potential changes to grading practices.
As noted in today's article, staff explained to board members that they plan on bringing in parents, students and possibly the business community into the review that teachers are conducting of grading in middle schools and high schools.
Even though they want to hire education consultant Ken O'Connor, they stressed they're not telling teachers they need to adopt recommendations such as not reducing grades for late work or cheating. They said they're simply trying to get teachers talking about the issue.
"We can’t empahasize enough that there aren’t answers that have been predetermined," said Ruth Steidinger, a senior director for secondary education.
Board members were non-commital about staff's plan to hire O'Connor to speak with teachers at $6.000 a day. Steidinger stressed to the board that no contract has been signed yet.
A big focus on Tuesday is that grading is inconsistent right now. They handed out this sheet as an example of how students at the same school could get different grades based on which teacher they get.
"If we want our grades to communicate student achievement to students and parents, then how confident are we that the grades our students receive in middle school and high school are consistent and accurate?" said Ken Branch, a senior director for secondary education. "That they’re meaningful and they’re supportive of learning."
It will be interesting seeing how the review will go once non-educators are brought into the mix. Branch and Steidinger said the plan during the 2009-10 school year is to talk with parents and students before proposing any changes.
Supt. Del Burns suggested also speaking with students who've dropped out.
School board members suggested also having the board advisory councils get involved.