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Hutchinson: Standards-Based Grading Became an 'Obstacle'

The North Andover Schools superintendent discusses his decision to return the middle school to traditional grading.

The decision to back away from standards-based grading at North Andover Middle School had much to do with the confusion it caused, according to Superintendent Kevin Hutchinson.

"We went back to the traditionally scaled system simply because it was evident that it was becoming obstacle in the way of our true purpose, providing rigorous currciulum to students and giving them detailed feedback," Hutchinson said.

The School Committee recently held a meeting for public feedback, and the feedback from parents about thre standards-based grading system was that of frustration and chaos.

"All of it was not making sense to everyone," Hutchinson said. "It was making sense to some and not all. That's something we need to work on, to have people better understand standards-based education."

The school will continue with standards-based education, however, even with traditional grading.

"It just changes the reporting side," he said. "We still need to teach to standards and support students to higher levels of acheivement."

The standards-based grading already used this school year will be integrated into the traditional grading system for the rest of the school year. The middle school will send out a letter detailing that in the coming weeks.

Elisa Reppucci January 13, 2013 at 10:11 PM
Exceeds the Essential Standard (Advanced)– The student demonstrates thorough, in depth knowledge of extended concepts and skills. Performance is characterized by going above and beyond what was taught by applying and connecting the extended skills with consistent accuracy, independence and a high quality level. This is from the North Andover schools site. When do the students get an opportunity to do this? When do the teachers have time to assess each student that does this? Considering they can't handle more than 15 kids at a time. And for science - isn't that what laboratory work was for? Sounds like another money maker for someone? Is the super out of the leased building yet? How much does it cost for repairs to the treadmills that must be worn out by now?
Cool Fusion January 14, 2013 at 12:54 AM
All good inquiries Elisa. You can depend that the hacks at the State Department of Education have incentive bonuses attached all over and thru this attempted abberation. Remember "New Math" from the 80's? As for the supertendents, we are starting to understand the inner mechanical workings of this slice of the education/industry complex where the shelf-life of a supertendent at a location is approximately three (3) years .. and then they move onto the next promising district. They collect their severance stipend, unused sick and vacation days, use up their expense accounts, (and with a wink, Wink, Nod, Nod - mutually agree not to devulge the "not to be mentioned") from the former and then slither to a much higher salary plus hiring bonus at their new position leaving behind their history of failure .. all with the skids greased by their highly networked insider connections. Think "Nationwide Search" which usually results in a candidate a sling-shot away.
Carl Reppucci January 14, 2013 at 04:46 AM
Is it Oct. 2011 again in Texas? Look below, looks like we are repeating history here. Don't you learn things not to waste time and money by not repeating it. Parents challenge new RRISD grading First meeting since superintendent scaled it back Updated: Monday, 17 Oct 2011, 10:44 PM CDT Published : Monday, 17 Oct 2011, 9:14 PM CDT Erin Cargile ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) - A panel of Round Rock school administrators, a teacher and principal from Ridgeview Middle School faced more than one hundred parents Monday night. Some parents dressed in red to show they would like to put a stop to the new Standards-Based Grading system that was rolled out at four RRISD schools over the last two years -- Round Rock High School, Ridgeview Middle School, Grisham Middle School and Hernandez Middle School.
Carl Reppucci January 14, 2013 at 04:49 AM
AP courses - allow the student proficient to "skip a year of college level course work" What more could you ask for? Another meals tax, or TRASH TAX?!!! Imagine we survived all this time without that. Lets have an under ride, they have way to much money to spend.
Carl Reppucci January 14, 2013 at 05:21 AM
Bottom line, with either system the kids will adapt and people will pass any test, implementers of the system will say it worked. But if people are not interested in what they are learning - they won't use it. It is like making a kid study music, piano lessons every day, - you have heard the stories - adults that don't play nor do they enjoy or understand any thing of music. But someone with talent - doesn't need to be told to study - they still may not be the ultimate best - but they will hone that talent and skill. Untouchable by testing. iPhone, great works of music used in Christmas celebrations, all done by people with talent. You can get an A or a 4, but ultimately won't matter unless the person wants to do something with it. Eventually you will get a bell curve. How many redo's of tests will really happen?

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