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Middle School to Switch Back to Traditional Grading

The switch comes after a firestorm from parents.

North Andover Middle School will not use standards-based grading, at least for the time being.

Superintendent Kevin Hutchinson sent a letter to parents Wednesday informing them of his decision School Committee's decision to revert the middle school back to traditional grading. Education will still be standards-based, but reporting will be traditional.

"This means that all assessments and work that are used to report student progress will be scored on a 100 percent scale," the letter reads.

With a instead of the traditional A-F grading system, teachers report progress in detailed analysis of what a child has learned relating to state standards. Education is tailored to hit targets based on that, and teacher reports also discuss the child's social learning.

The standards-based system was launched partially in the middle school in September and was expected to be fully implemented for the 2013-2014 school year. But many parents expressed concern over what the system does, what the reports mean and how they will be understood by private high schools and colleges.

Hutchinson addressed these concerns in a Live Chat on Patch in August. But last week, parents reportedly addressed the School Committee with more concerns and frustration, over both the new system and the way it was being implemented.

"Middle School administration will work with teachers to convert grades already received this trimester so that they can be seamlessly blended with grades moving forward," the letter reads. "Details of this will be communicated to you within the next few weeks as well as how the report card will be interpreted at the end of the year."

A PDF of the complete letter is attached to this post. Check back with Patch for further updates.

Cool Fusion January 10, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Numbers make Hulk angry. Never have so many North Andover parents watched CSPAN instead of Honey Boo-Boo reruns.
MikeA January 10, 2013 at 02:43 PM
I would say that Hutchinson answered questions about standard based grading in the August Patch Live Chat. I wouldn't go so far as to say he addressed the concerns - that implies that our concerns went away. One ignored indication that it wasn't going well was when they asked for parent volunteers to help "educate" (i.e. sell) the community on the new grading system. If its such a great idea, the school committee/school department should have been able to explain it to us - they're educators. If they've really been using standards based instruction for some time, why is it such a leap for parents to accept standards based grading? Maybe the parents haven't accepted standard based instruction? Or maybe they aren't (that) aware of it. And while I'm at it - they use too many fancy terms. I don't see the need to complicate relatively simple things. Parents are probably familiar with one fancy term - curriculum - and several not so fancy terms - grades, report cards, test, quiz, and paper. Now they have rubric, framework, core standards, proficiency level, benchmark, assessments, reporting standard, ...
Cool Fusion January 10, 2013 at 04:09 PM
Mike, Politics has abducted the vocabulary of physics into their communicaton strategy. Hence we hear phrases like "The Optics are Bad" and "Heavy Bombardments" are referred to as "Surgical Kinetics",, and of course Rubiks. It sounds much less harsh and most will have no idea what they are talking about anyways plus it will serve as a fit placeholder until they can move the debilitating headline with a new creative Red Herring to divert attention. It's going to get worse.. much worse, as the skills of obfusication are enhanced. Here is a primer course that you will need to survive: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLDgQg6bq7o
Elisa Reppucci January 10, 2013 at 11:06 PM
Is the superintendent still in a leased building?


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