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The Hot Springs School Board on Tuesday approved the grading policy for the 2020-21 school year.

Assistant Superintendent Taryn Echols said she had a couple of parents reach out to her at the beginning of the year about the 70/30 grading policy.

"Prior to us going through and making some changes, it was 70% test and 30% classwork, and the parents didn't feel like it was fair to only allow 70% of the grade to be given for a test," she said.

Echols said that some of the third- through sixth-grade teachers didn't even realize the district had a 70/30 split. Some of the secondary teachers will give one or two summative assessments for the semester.

"So, if you're not a great test taker, that automatically puts you in a bind," she said.

Echols said the district has a good group of parents, including some who work in the district, and some who don't work in the district, and they were OK with the 70% being unit and course grade level understanding, but the district wanted to break the 70% down.

She said the committee was proposing 35% of the grade to be a summative assessment, such as a unit assessment and an overall assessment.

Echols said the other 35% of the grade would be formative assessment, such as an oral project presentation, lab experiences, essays, artwork and products students produce in a classroom that aren't typically graded as a summative assessment.

She said 30% of the grading scale would be independent practice, daily work and brief progress checks. The brief progress checks would include items such as small quizzes and warm-ups.

"They felt really good about this. They felt that it was fair for all students. So this was not something that I just did on my own," Echols said.

"We had a couple of principals sit in on the committee, as well. We feel like this will give a more accurate picture of the work that our students produce on a daily basis," she said.

Adriane Barnes, communications and public relations coordinator, said in an email that a committee of HSSD teachers created the recommendations.

The district has made more updates to the grading policy for standards-based report cards due to the addition of third- through fourth-graders in the standards-based grading scales, Superintendent Stephanie Nehus said.

The updates were based on the grading policy committee with representation from parents, administrators and faculty from across grade levels and schools, Nehus said.

"We wanted to make sure our policy was in line with what's on the standards-based report card," she said.

The grading scale for kindergarten through fourth grade will be in the category of academic proficiency and skills and behavior that support learning, the updated grading policy said.

The academic proficiency will be graded in numbers using four through one. Four will be the highest grade and one being the lowest, the policy said.

The skills and behavior that support learning will be graded with letters using O for outstanding, S for satisfactory and N for needs to improve, the grading policy said.

Local on 05/23/2020

Print Headline: Hot Springs School Board approves grading policy update

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