Letters to the Editor

Failure of the new grading system | Letters

I am writing related to the adoption of the Standards Based Grading system by Federal Way Public Schools.

I attended the recent school board meeting. The wide range of the academic backgrounds of the frustrated students who took the time to speak at the Dec. 13 school board meeting dramatically illustrated to me the failure of the new grading system.

According to a statement made by Superintendent Rob Neu in the Dec. 17 article published in the Federal Way Mirror, the principle reasons for the adoption of the new grading system are to decrease the current 27 percent high school dropout rate and to improve the academic performance of college-bound students. I fail to see the connection between the adoption of a complex and difficult to implement grading system and an increase in the rate of successful high school graduation. Smaller class size, dedicated teachers, innovative and creative curriculum, and family support are proven predictors of student success. The extensive amount of time that teachers and administrators are devoting to the implementation of the SBG system could be better devoted to more proven ways to engage students and families.

The revisions to the grading system announced by Superintendent Neu at the recent school board meeting are probably necessary to prevent large numbers of college-bound high school students from having failing grades recorded on their transcripts. The willingness of administrators to address these problems and listen to public comment is laudable.

However, with only three weeks remaining in the first semester, one must wonder how effectively and consistently principals and teachers will be able to implement the (optional) grading changes.

Finally, I question the additional financial cost required to implement the new grading system. I believe that both the initial purchase setup cost and the annual ongoing support cost of the Global Scholar.com grading software should be public information. A comparison of the cost of the new grading system with the cost of the old system should also be shared. The allocation of additional money and resources to purchase and implement a new grading system seems particularly unwise in the current environment of budget reductions and a shrinking tax base.

Joy Werlink, Auburn



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