Mummy Buzz


School Board Scraps Traditional Letter Grades

of little demonstrable benefit to students

We all know the pressure on kids to achieve academically is phenomenal these days. And failure is hard to swallow, so the Calgary Board of Education is doing away with alpha and numeric-based grading for kids from K-9.

An article in the National Post states that student work will instead be graded according to the following four categories: “exemplary,” “evident,” “emerging,” or “support required.”

The board is also scrapping personalized comments, presumably as a means to lighten teachers' administrative load. Instead, parents will be issued with "communication plans" prior to receiving the new report cards, thus enabling more frequent connection with their children's teachers.

But the new system has many Calgarians scratching their heads at changes of "little demonstrable benefit to students." 

“If you know as a parent that your child has received 82%, it’s very difficult to know what to do to help them,” said the board’s education director, Ronna Mosher.

Perhaps. Yet as a parent, 82% still means more to me than a phrase like “evident” or “emerging" (though admittedly "support required" is easier to swallow than a huge F scrawled in red across the page. Or, maybe not in red ink, because it's too harsh and many teachers were urged to use other colours...) 

From September 2014, the new reports will be issued just twice a year, compared to the three to six reports currently delivered.

The idea being that teachers are perceived "more as coaches than taskmasters." But with fewer reports and less descriptive comments from teachers, it remains to be seen how 'effective' the changes will be. 

Do you think the new grading system will be more, or less meaningful, to kids and their parents? Should kids be allowed to 'fail' at school? This teacher certainly thought so.