A standing-room-only crowd at Quakertown’s school board meeting last Thursday night came armed with extensive arguments both for and against the district’s standards based grading (SBG) system.
Speaker after speaker informed the board how their children benefit from the system that has been in place for four years, as well as stated an extensive list of disadvantages.
Overall the consensus, based on public comments, was that something needs to change to allow for better understanding of where a student ranks within the SBG system. The majority of parents that spoke during the meeting felt there needs to be more consistency between each classroom and essentially each teacher, which will then allow for a widely understood grading system.
John Kern, resident of Milford Township and father of twin girls now in their freshman year of college, remarked, “Standards based grading was great for my daughter who didn’t care and gamed the system. My other daughter did very well regardless.”
Kern added, “This must be hard to hear that this is something we don’t like, but this is our future. I implore you to listen! Standards based grading truly is not working.”
Several parents agreed in their statements to the board – there needs to be a level of remediation offered to students; however, with clearer parameters set by teachers as a whole.
After a brief discussion between board members regarding the need for change, members voted unanimously to have Superintendent Lisa Andrejko work closely with school administrators to develop a grading system to replace the current SBG system.
Board member Paul Stepanoff asked that the motion be amended to include seventh and eighth grade to the nine through 12 grades up for the change. Andrejko then asked to include sixth grade to the plan, as well. The motion passed for grades six through 12 in the district.
The plan will be developed by the administration and presented to the school board at the Dec. 5 meeting. The board will then evaluate and revise the plan if needed to meet the criteria set forth by the school board.
When an agreement is reached the plan will be put in place during the 2014-15 school year.
All members of the school board agree that teachers need to continue to own their classrooms but follow a universal plan regarding parameters of remediation. A continued effort by students to put their best effort forward the first time on tests and other assignments is also a key point, officials said.
Board President Bob Smith said, “One teacher goes about things one way and another does another way but all need to do the same.”