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Public Forum Scheduled on Grading and Reporting Policy

April 24, 2002
The Montgomery County Board of Education has scheduled a public forum on Policy IKA, “Grading and Reporting” to provide an early opportunity for input from parents, students, and staff as revisions are considered.

The forum is scheduled for Wednesday, May 29, in the auditorium of the Carver Educational Services Center at 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. It will be conducted in two sessions one running from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. and a second one from 7:00 to 9:00~p.m. Individuals wishing to speak at the forum may call 301-279-3617, beginning May 8. Each individual will be allotted three minutes to speak and will speak in the order that calls are received.

Last year, the deputy superintendent of schools convened a work group on Grading and Reporting, with a broad range of participating stakeholders. Its charge was to review Policy IKA, “Grading and Reporting” and related policies and recommend changes that support consistency in grading and best practices, while fostering communication between home and school.

To help shape those changes, the Board is asking parents, students, and staff for their views on the following beliefs that would establish the underlying philosophy of the grading and reporting policy:

*Grades should provide meaningful feedback on student achievement to students, parents, teachers, administrators, and the school system, and relevant information for instructional purposes.

*The grading and reporting process should be aligned with the Montgomery County Public Schools’ curriculum.

*Grades should carry the same meaning and be consistent with and among schools.

*Grades should accurately reflect student achievement on grade level indicators or course objectives.

*Grades should fairly represent a student’s performance on a variety of measures over time.

*Grading criteria and the components of a grade should be clearly communicated to parents and students early in a course or school year.

*School attendance is an essential component of a quality learning experience.

*Summative assessments, including final exams, are a reflection of a student’s mastery of grade level or course material and should therefore carry significant weight in the final grade.

*Students should have an opportunity to demonstrate mastery of grade level indicators or course objectives through a variety of methods.

*All students and parents should receive information about the student’s progress on an on-going basis.

Speakers may address any of the above beliefs as well as any of the following questions. Testimony also is welcome regarding other issues pertinent to grading and reporting, or their implementation.

1. Should the weight of the semester exam grade be changed? How and why? (high school)
2. Should letter grades, numerical grades, narrative, or a combination be used? Why or why not? (all levels)
3. What should be the components of a grade? (all levels)
4. What is the most efficient and meaningful way to give feedback to parents and students? (all levels)
5. Should the length of the marking period be changed? Why or why not? (all levels)
6. How should student attendance affect grades? (all levels)

After the Board considers a draft of the proposed revisions to the policy in fall 2002, that document will be widely circulated for further public comment prior to the Board’s taking final action. Any revisions would not go into effect until the 2003-2004 school year.

Policy IKA may be obtained from the school system’s website at www.mcps.k12.md.us/departments/policy or by calling 301-279-3364. Further background information on the issues under consideration will be on www.mcps.k12.md.us/info/grading as of April 30.

For additional information about these questions and related issues under consideration by the work group, contact Lori-Christina Webb, coordinator, Policy and Records, at 301-279-3364. For additional information on the forum, contact George Margolies, staff director to the Board, at 301-279-3301.

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