Readers Thank Teachers, Share Frustrations With Standards Based Grading

Patch users engaged in conversation after hundreds of teachers attended a recent Osseo Area Schools board meeting to discuss frustrations with current district initiatives.

Last Monday, teachers voiced a number of concerns about student learning during the Osseo Area Schools board meeting.

Among the list of issues discussed, Standards Based Grading and the current 0-4 scale used to assess students came up again, and again.

When Patch published a recap of the teacher presentation on Jan. 23, readers immediately started sharing their own opinions about the meeting.

Reader Shari Durdin thanked the teachers who spoke up:

Kudos to the teachers who voiced their concerns. Parents who have voiced similar concerns feel that their comments have fallen on deaf ears.

Barbara agreed:

Thank You to our teachers for courageously speaking their opinion. The leadership needs to take heed and LISTEN instead of taking notes and piecemeal fixing problems. LET TEACHERS TEACH. Trust them. They went to college to be professionals. School Board, you are elected officials. Listen to your voters. Take your losses on SBG and end it. It's in your power to act.

While most readers were thankful to district teachers, some users used the comment stream to add points to the article. One reader, Jen, explained why she feels Standards Based Grading has negatively impacted Osseo Area students. Jen said that weighing formative work to “almost nothing” causes students to stop trying. She also said that multiple re-tests drive teachers to focus on testing rather than instructing.

“We teachers understand and appreciate SBG as an instructional tool of focus, but the district has added things not a part of SBG that are damaging student learning,” Jen explained. “That's where the backlash is coming from.”

Patch user “jg” said that maybe professional development is to blame.

The issue seems to be professional development, rather than SBG itself. As a teacher who has used SBG for years, I could never go back - it's much better for my students and raises the bar of communication quite a bit.

Readers quickly disagreed. Barbara called that comment “naive.” She said:

Professional training should help each teacher find and use tools to TEACH and to be creative in reaching students. This School District has strong armed teachers so that they have to fall in line to what the district deems as a standard

One reader, using the name “FP” said that if professional development is an issue, maybe the district should look at making cuts from other activities.

And if there is no money for PD [professional development], then maybe the football team can forgo new uniforms. This type of reform needs much better PD than my school district supplies, and I imagine Osseo isn't that much different from my district in that regard.

At the school board meeting, Superintendent Kate Maguire said that she’s committed to working collaboratively in a way that helps staff move forward in order to help all students achieve the district’s mission, though she didn’t mention any specific changes about Standards Based Grading.

Kenoc February 02, 2013 at 03:29 AM
A very one-sided review of the comments as you mentioned none of the comments that supported standards-based grading. Gets a grade of 1 (on a four point scale) for journalistic quality. It seems very strange that sbg is such a terrible thing in Osseo when it is fast becoming the norm across America and has, for example, been mandated for all schools K-12 in Maine by 2017. Some of the teacher comments, for example the one about formative assessment, are very sad because they ignore common sense and strong bodies of research evidence. To illustrate this - what will be the score when the Super Bowl starts on Sunday. It will be 0-0; there will be no scores for practice this week, but this is what we do to students when we include formative scores in summary grades.


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