Belvidere School District debated changing grading scale

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BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — The Belvidere School District will not change the way it grades students.

Administrators have been working on a pilot program for years. The new type of grading in question was proficiency-based grading, and it would have changed A’s and B’s to ones and twos. This new type of grading has been in place at some schools since 2016.

School board members decided on Monday night whether to take it district wide. Dr. Daniel Woestman, Superintendent of Belvidere School District #100, said this type of reporting molds a more well-rounded student.

“Students know specifically what skills they need to improve on,” Woestman said.

Woestman said that report cards will no longer show as B’s and C’s, but instead will show a number which indicates how students are performing in specific areas.

“High school students still get an A, B, C, D or F at the end of the semester, but the path to getting to the A, B, C, D or F is a little bit different because students are assessed for specific skills and standards,” Woestman said.

Instead of a letter grade, a student could earn numbers one through four, four meaning a student met or exceeded all standards, to a one where a student is not meeting the basic standards.

“We’re trying to make sure that we don’t have the swiss cheese of education, where students have gaps, so over the years we’re trying to acknowledge that school is more than just reading, writing and arithmetic anymore,” Woestman said.

However, there has been push-back by parents and community members on the way students are now being graded.

Dick Rundall, President of Eliminate Racism 815, said that this will impact minority students.

“They give a portion of grade on attendance,” Rundall said. “They do a variety of different things, and some of it’s emotional because you don’t have standards set.”

Woestman said the district has been transitioning to the new system over the last five years.

“It’s hard for people to get used to,” Woestman said. “What we’re trying to do here is learn how to, overtime, increase the reliability of the reporting we provide for students and parents.”

School board members again voted down the plan to change the grading system.

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