Letters to the Editor

With new grading system, it pays to fail | Letters

Federal Way parents and students, particularly high school students, beware of the new grading system.

This new grading system is using something called the "Power Law." The Power Law is supposed to give more weight to the most recent assessment scores (growth trend).

However, there is a very grave problem with this new grading system. If you fail the first assessment, you can actually receive a higher final score than if you are consistent.

Remember that they now have changed things again and we are using 4, 3, 2 and 1 for assessments, and final scores on priority standards. For example, when a student gets the following scores on assessments 1, 4, 3, and 3, the final score calculated by the power law would be a 4. But, if a student receives scores of 4, 3, 3, and 4, the final grade would be a 3.

Each has the same last assessment score, but the student who started out poorly gets a higher grade. That does not make sense. In this scenario, it pays to fail the first assessment, and the consistent learner is penalized. The final score is actually a prediction of what the student's next score will be based on scores already present.

Because of space limitations, I cannot show other inconsistencies in this system. We as parents cannot tolerate such a system for our high school students and middle school students taking some high school coursework. When there is such an unequal variance in how grades are totaled, this can have a very detrimental effect on the final grades that high school students will be receiving.

Of course, this can have a significant impact on post high school plans and scholarship applications.

We must hold the district administration and the school board accountable for allowing such a misguided grading system to be used. In April 2013, the board reviewed the current vendor's grading system, and the software was not operational at that time. I don't think many of us would even consider selecting a product so important when it was not operational and could not be tested. Also, please note that this is the third year in a row that we have not had a functional grading system when school started.

What makes it worse this year is that the superintendent and the majority of the school board were off gallivanting around the world and not taking care of business here at home.

Speak your peace and let your voice be heard loud and clear — this new grading system should immediately be put to rest.

Shelley Scuderi, Kent


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