By James Crawford
Chief Academic Officer
After a recent convening that included seven colleges and universities admissions officers, Federal Way Public Schools’ grading system received a stamp of approval. This panel included admissions officers from University of Washington, Western Washington University, Renton Technical College, Green River College, University of Puget Sound, Eastern Washington University and Seattle Colleges.
These college admissions officers enthusiastically approved our standards-based grading practices. According to Shannon Carr, associate vice president for admissions with University of Puget Sound, SBGR “eliminates grade inflation. It makes the grades truer, if you will, so it gives us in some ways a more accurate understanding of the student’s capability and ability.”
Admissions officers shared SBGR helps ensure admissions considerations are focused on a scholar’s experience with rigorous coursework. Karl Smith, associate vice chancellor with University of Washington Tacoma said higher education has an interest in seeing grades as a measure of a student’s academic preparation for success in college, and that often a traditional grading system indicates, “a disconnect between what the student’s foundation was and what we assumed based on that grade.”
Admissions officers also indicated FWPS’ implementation of SBGR supports students’ ambitions for career and college success. They spent time reviewing our curriculum to better understand how rigor aligns to our SBGR system.
Shannon Carr shared, “Federal Way Public Schools [scholars] would be competitive in a collegiate environment. I think what this [SBGR] allows colleges and universities to do is have a really clear and strong understanding of the mastery of each student across subject areas.”
There is data that supports our students’ college and career readiness and entrance into post-secondary institutions. For two consecutive years, FWPS is outperforming the state with the percent of scholars who enroll in two- or four- year college programs.
Our grading system is based on research, input from parents and community, and supported by experts in the field.
We are committed to ensuring our students’ grades accurately reflect their mastery of standards. Check out www.fwps.org/SBGR to learn more about this commitment and attend our next SBGR community forum on Wednesday, March 13, 6-7:30 p.m. at Federal Way High School.
James Crawford is the district’s Chief Academic Officer.