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Grading Scale Changes - Letter from the Principal 10-19-12

posted Oct 18, 2012, 5:46 PM by Massabesic highschool   [ updated Oct 18, 2012, 5:48 PM ]
Grading Scale Changes Letter 

Over the past three weeks teaching staff, students and some of our parents & guardians shared some concerns with the Massabesic High School Rubric Grading Scale we started our year off with and have been using since the 2010-2011 school year. Students, staff, parents & guardians all shared that if the earning of a "3" shows mastery that it deserves a higher average under our grading scale. It was made clear that since we no longer allow participation, work habits and homework to count as basic proficiency and content mastery that the summative assessments being used to determine grades are much more important. They show more reliability with what students really know and can do. MHS Staff also shared with me that they had concerns with students earning credit with a “2” or 70 under our present scale. That basic and/or partial proficiency needs to go further. MHS Students need to show more of their learning in order to earn credit at a minimum level so as to leave MHS with more opportunity to be successful in the 21st Century.

 At last week’s MHS Leadership Team Meeting (LT) it was clear with all those present that the above concerns had not been fully understood when, last spring, I said we would not change the MHS Rubric Grading Scale for 2012-2013. More discussion should have taken place when we increased the expectations for the kind of work that we would accept, best representing what students actually know and can do. This fall along with adding the clarity that goes with the MHS Work Habits Rubric we should have revised our grading rubric. From the feedback and discussions taking place it was clear that we needed to "Check and Adjust." The MHS LT was in favor of adjusting the present MHS Rubric Grading Scale to show students meeting higher expectations for mastery.

When a Learning Organization such as Massabesic High School decides they need to "Check & Adjust" we also need to plan for implementation. This was discussed and brought with it one concern, when to change? Our thoughts on this were:

- Wait and implement at the beginning of either this year’s Winter or Spring Trimesters

- Implement next school year (2013-2014) so more time could be given to explain

- Start now with all assessments graded for the rest of this Trimester using a new scale

- Make the change retroactive to the start of our school year by having teaching staff adjust their grades already in IC.

There are plusses and minuses for all of the above options. I think many of us would like to have waited until 2013-2014, but the two main reasons we could not are as follows:

1.)   Any student taking similar courses during the Winter or Spring Trimester to those being taken now would be at a GPA and transcript-wise advantage.

Ex: A student who takes Spanish 2A during the Winter Trimester could have an increase of their grade and GPA as compared to a student who took Spanish 2A during the Fall Trimester under the old scale.

2.)   Waiting until the next school year should not happen as continuing with a system that is flawed would not be fair to students and would be foolish on our part. 

The plan proposed and approved by the RSU 57 Curriculum Committee this past Monday night is as follows:

 - The new scale will be retroactive to the beginning of this school year

- Teachers will reset their grade scales in their syllabus, on their web sites and in IC

- Teachers will use this week to convert grades from the first five weeks to the new scale

- The 2nd MHS Progress Report this Trimester will be delayed one week to Nov 2nd to allow students who had earned 2.0’s time to improve their understanding and earn a 2.5

- A letter will go home and a memo will go to students explaining the change. 

The bottom line for us was that changing our scale at this time is clearly the right thing for us to do. The “when” is always the issue with change. We decided the when needed to be now.

MHS Rubric Scoring Conversion Guide 

Rubric Score

Numerical Score

4.0

101

3.75

98

3.5

96

3.25

94

3.0

92

2.5

80

2.0

67

1.5*

55

 1.0**

40

                                 0

***“M”

“0 to 3 is the MHS Level of Mastery/Proficiency”

“3 to 4 is the MHS Level of Excellence”

*Our present level of learning where students qualify for Intervention Classes

**Our present level of learning where students qualify for Plato Intervention

***”M” = Missing

If you have any questions about how this change will effect your son or daughter please contact your son or daughter’s teachers, their counselor or MHS administration. Thanks!