What is an A?

By on October 1, 2009

District asked to review current grading scale
By Ben Draper
KANELAND—Kaneland School District officials plan to study the grading scale currently implemented district-wide during the 2010-11 school year.

But that is not soon enough for some that attended Monday’s School Board meeting held at Harter Middle School in Sugar Grove.

Pedro Rivas, a former candidate for the D302 School Board, asked the board to move the study to this school year.

“I wish to put in a request to expedite this process,” Rivas said during the public comments portion of the meeting.

Rivas was not alone, as 16 others in attendance stood and supported what Rivas had said.

Currently, the Kaneland School District uses a scale that makes an A grade between 93-100 percent, a B grade between 86-92 percent, a C grade 78-85 percent, a D grade 70-77 percent, and 69 and below an F grade.

According to Batavia High School’s website FAQ, an A grade is anything between 90-100 percent, a B grade 80-89 percent, a C grade 70-79 percent, a D grade 60-69 percent, and anything under 60 percent is considered a failing grade.

This, according to Rivas and others in attendance at the meeting, puts Kaneland students at a disadvantage when it comes time to apply for college.

The sentiment from the group of 17 was not lost on board member Bob Myers.

“How does our system impact how our students get into college?,” Myers asked. “If there is such an outcry, I am just wondering if we can put it to bed sooner.”

Curriculum Director Sarah Mumm explained that there is a strategy behind the fact that the review process is scheduled for the 2010-11 school year.

“The reason we put it (during the 2010-11 school year) is strategic—we have kind of laid out this school year to lead up to the review next year,” she said.

Mumm explained that moving up the review process would mean jumping to the end before a solution could be properly worked out.

“You’ll start the discussions, but the background pieces won’t be done yet,” she said.

Board member Diane Piazza expressed a desire to move the decision to the current school year, but added that she would like to see the logic behind why the study was planned for next year.

“Knowing (the administration) had a study planned, I want to know whether that needs to impact my stance,” she said. “It would be nice if you could show us how those go together.”

One parent in attendance, Teresa Witt, said the board should be cautious to characterize the grading issue as an “outcry,” and that many parents, including herself, support the current system.

Witt was not opposed to a study into why the district uses a particular grading scale, but did not see the need for a decision this school year.

“How would this transition happen? If my son got a 91 percent (currently “B” grade on Kaneland’s scale) in the current system, and then it changed that 90 percent is an A, do you (retroactively) change the grade?” Witt asked. “I think the higher grading system fits into the School Improvement Plan.”

School Board members expressed a desire to at least discuss informally some of the logic behind the different grading scales.

The administration will present an informal discussion item regarding the grade scale issue at the next board meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 13.