Dear Community Members,
I would like to thank all the community members who have shared their concerns regarding Standards-Based Grading (SBG). From the beginning I have admitted that we should have done a better job of including our Ridgeview Middle School and Round Rock High School parents in the discussions to implement the reporting of SBG. Even though the implementation of SBG was not a success I still have great respect for our principals and teachers at these campuses for their innovative thinking and desire to push the envelope and try something new to benefit their students.
While some components of SBG have merits and the potential to benefit our students it cannot be completely implemented in isolation. I have spent the past month learning about SBG and how it’s being implemented at Ridgeview MS and Round Rock HS. A couple of weeks ago I was reluctant to end the implementation of SBG; however, I instructed these two campuses to return to the 0-100 grading scale. As I continued to listen to our parents I learned that the use of proficiency scales was adding to the confusion of the grading process.
After much reflection and guidance from the Board of Trustees I have instructed both campuses to stop the entire implementation of SBG. Beginning Monday, Oct. 31 teachers will begin transitioning away from SBG. The transition will conclude no later than Friday, Nov. 4, the last day of the six weeks. We have also asked teachers to review student grades for the past two grading cycles and verify that each assignment offered the opportunity to score a maximum of “100%” and not “90%.” I have asked principals to update their school community on the progress of this endeavor. If you believe your student’s grade does not accurately reflect his/her performance, please contact your child’s teacher and principal.
For future grades, teachers will spend next week preparing grade books to reflect a child’s grade on assignments and not a grade on learning goals. Beginning with the new grading cycle, Nov. 7, you can expect your child’s Home Access account to appear similar to grading prior to SBG. In addition, students will no longer receive rubrics unless it is a project-based or writing assignment.
My review of SBG also allowed me to review the retake/retest practices at Ridgeview MS and Round Rock HS. Beginning Monday, Nov. 7 students will no longer have the opportunity to redo an assignment or test if they score above “70%.” I have instructed both campuses to follow district policy EIA which states students receiving a failing grade must be given the opportunity to redo assignments or exams. Students earning a grade below “70%” will be provided a reasonable and fair opportunity to retake or redo their assignments or exams.
As we plan for the future I will work with the Board of Trustees to review and develop district policies to ensure consistency among schools. Our current grading policy allows for significant campus discretion and through this SBG process it has become apparent that grading parameters are needed in policy to ensure uniformity across the district. Thank you for your patience and commitment to the success of all students.
Dr. Jesús H. Chávez