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I am a parent of two high school students and a former vice president of our school board. Our district has just implemented a new grading policy and I have some concerns. When I questioned the district about the new changes they responded to me that "they have reviewed best practices across the country and what well known researchers have recommended. One of the top educators in this field is Ken O'Connor." I started doing a little research about the 70% summative and 30% formative and have found that most schools that use this system also allow for students to retest when they fail a test, students do not all learn at the same pace. The point of this is to make sure students are mastering what they are being taught. How is this system going to work if the district is not allowing students to retest? In order for this system to work, they need to follow the entire system not just part of it. Is this correct? The more I investigate this concept, the more I understand there are many working parts to this system and each and every one of them is important and needs to be in place for this system to be successful. I appreciate your time. Thank you, Kim

Kim Williams


Kim, I would agree that ideally all parts of a true standards-based-grading (sbg)system should be in place. I would also agree that reassessment is an integral part of sbg because what matters is whether students learn not when they learn. However,
if a school/district is moving gradually in the implementation of sbg starting with a mandated 70/30 minimum and moving toward 100/0 this is a good and important place to start because it says school is about learning not just the accumulation of points. Students understand in basketball that practice 'counts' but not as part of the evaluation/review or the score and they need to have that same understanding in the classroom. As long as the teachers are providing more than one opportunity for students to show their proficiency on each standard and as long as they are emphasizing the more recent evidence in the determination of grades (not just averaging all the scores) the lack of specific reassessment is acceptable although not the best way to implement sbg.