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POLL: How is the Standards-Based Grading System Working in the Osseo School District?

District 279 started to implement a new grading and reporting system during the 2011-2012 school year.

The implemented its first year of Standards Based Grading in District 279 during the 2011-2012 school year.

With only two months left in the school year, how has the been working for parents, students and staff in the school district?

In the past, student grading might have included a mixture of academic and nonacademic achievement. With Standards-Based Grading, the grading focuses heavily on academic achievement only. Nonacademic issues are included on separate reporting tools.

Take our poll below to share your thoughts about the first year of the Standards-Based Grading implementation. Be sure to add your comments as well.

Steve McCuskey May 05, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Nicely put. Thanks for not being 'anonymous'! We need people stepping up to the plate here to get this fixed. We are also considering moving our 9th grader out of the district. Our 12th grader escapes in a few weeks, but it's hurt him and cost us money. We're trying to get concerned parents and teachers together to voice a clear opinion that this needs to be fixed NOW. Please join in the conversation on Facebook at: Osseo Maple Grove Standards Based Grading (SBG) Conversation......
Everyone for themselves May 08, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Many people are too smart to realize how dumb they really are? This has happened to you right? This is the point in your career when you finally get it and realize how dumb you have actually been in the past. Or, this is the point in parenting when you respect why your own parents did the things they did. It's called experience. I am not going to take a side on the SBG debate. I will, however, support a system developed by a group of people who have more experience on teaching and learning in education then any of the people who have commented above. The problem I have with some of the opinions above is that they support a small group of learners. Public education is a middle class institution that is designed to support the mass. I wonder if any of the concerned have taken time to read and research the thousands of professional studies that either support or do not support SBG. If you really want to sway the district into changing back to letter grades, prove why it is better.
Anonymous May 10, 2012 at 01:11 PM
In the searching for information I have done, there are more people asking for proof that SBG works and why it is better. I know less about how my child is doing now than ever - this fall it will be even worse with 1-4 grades.
Frustrated May 11, 2012 at 03:52 PM
I don't care for SBG at all. It does not prepare our children for what is coming in College! I don't think I ever had the choice to retake a test! My 7th Grader at Maple Grove Junior High is skating her way thru. She doesn't always take the assignments seriously and thinks that if she gets a bad grade on the tests, she can just take them over or do extra credit. What??? Where is the ownership in that? This system is not only hurting the high acheivers, it is hurting your "regular" students as well. The board needs to seriously reconsider this decision!
Steve McCuskey May 12, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Continued from above comment to: 'Everyone for themselves' ...To your wondering if we’ve taken the time to research SBG, the answer is YES! SBG is not totally wrong, it does have some positive qualities IF IMPLEMENTED SLOWLY, PROPERLY AND WITH CLEAR AND COMPLETE GUIDELINES AND CIRRICULUM FOR THOSE WORKING DIRECTLY WITH OUR CHILDREN! SBG can also be positive IF THE GRADING SCALE DOES NOT PUT OUR STUDENTS ON AN UNEVEN PLAYING FIELD WHEN COMPETING FOR COLLEGE ADMISSION AND ACADEMIC SCHOLARSHIPS. If you’re wondering if college/universities have been contacted and given the grading outline, the answer is yes. The response from those were “concerned” and “GPA’s are taken at face value without consideration of the grading format.” When ‘supporting the mass’, all need to be considered regardless of how large or small the group is. Our secondary students going onto college are in fact a large group! LET’S NOT KEEP OUR KIDS FROM COMPETING DUE TO POOR IMPLEMENTATION AND A SCEWED GRADING SCALE. Parents of secondary students and future secondary students, GET INVOLVED! Educate yourself beyond what the district is and IS NOT telling us. Obtain the secondary grading rubric that is being implemented 100% in the Fall of 2012. Attend the next board meeting, ask questions, voice concerns and get involved. That is, if you have students in the district…?
Steve McCuskey May 12, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Dear 'Everyone for Themselves' Very interesting comment… “I’m going to blindly go where smart people tell me to go, because I’m dumber than I know”. REALLY? And your name is very interesting; Everyone for themselves… If you had done some ‘district specific’ learning, you’d see there is a very large group of parents and teachers who care about the health and well being of ALL students. This conversation is running rampant throughout the district with parents and teachers very concerned. To date, other than the district administration, we have heard from 4 people that like the ‘new’ system. I have learned from very educated History teachers and professors that we should never follow those in power blindly. History has shown us why. Those with education and experience, regardless of well-meaning intentions, do not always lead us in the proper direction. If there is a lack of understanding, we need to question. We have done this at parent SBG meetings. If there are concerns, we need to voice them. We have done this, to school and district administration. If there are problems we need to get involved and work together to fix them! Some are presently trying to do this. …continued below…
Wendy Erlien May 14, 2012 at 02:46 PM
According to the ISD 279 website, there will be a work session Thursday, May 17 with SBG as the topic. It's scheduled to be at the Educational Service Center (in the forum room) with board presentation/discussion at 6 p.m. and a listening session: audience opportunity for feedback to start at about 7:30 p.m. Do you all think many community members will provide feedback? Why or why not? http://district279.org/who/SchoolBoard/sbcalen.cfm
SOS May 15, 2012 at 05:13 PM
I am not supportive of the new grading system at all - because it is not supporting my kids (grades 4 and 5). My daughter received a 63% on a test and got a "3". In the same batch of test papers she received a 90%...graded as a "3". Next test showed that she got 100% correct PLUS 5 extra credit points correct...and, yup, received a "3". My son received a "1" because he didn't sing on pitch. He received a "2" on a math test because he missed 3 on it yet the next math test he missed 6 (same number of questions on both tests) and received a "3". Where is the consistency? Fine, mark things 0-4, but have them based on percentage of correct answers -but the only way to correctly hand out grades that give an accurate assessment of the students progress is to go by percentage of questions answered correctly. My biggest concern is that when we approached my daughter about the 63% on the test where she received a "3", she was fine with it because it as a "3". I asked her how she would have felt if she came home with a "D" on a test and she said she would have cried and asked for help to maybe take it again. Because her failing/near failing percentage grade was scored as "passing standards", she didn't care. Her comment was..mom, it's a 3, how much I get right doesn't matter as long as they give me a 3. What is that teaching our kids? That mediocrity is awesome? I am ashamed of the school district and their decision to put our children last and their "performance" grades first.
Osseo/MG Parent May 15, 2012 at 06:43 PM
When we got the first report cards this year, my son (who usually gets all A's) got all 3's. I asked the teacher why his grades had gone down. His teacher told me that they were not allowed to give out any 4's because they hadn't come up with a definition of what a 4 meant. Why are we rolling out a new system when it hasn't been figured out yet? If my child isn't allowed to get 4's why even have a 1-4 grade option? It's VERY frustrating as a parent!
Shari Nelson Durdin May 15, 2012 at 07:02 PM
For anyone with concerns about SBG - PLEASE go to the school board "listening" session on May 17 to voice your concerns! SBG was pushed through way too fast with little to no training on how it should be implemented. Our kids are suffering through this experiment, and those of us with kids in sr. high do not have time to let them figure it out. Colleges look at GPA and don't take the time to figure out how a particular school district implements their grading system. We were told at the last board meeting that the "average" GPA has not gone down since implementing SBG - well guess what?! Let's say you have 10 students - in the "old" system, 5 of them got straight A's (4.0 GPA) and 5 of them got straight F's (0.0 GPA). Their average GPA is 2.0. Now under SBG, the top 5 kids now have a GPA of 3.0, and the lower 5 kids have a GPA of 1.0. Guess what? Their average GPA is still a 2.0. The problem is, nobody can now earn an A, and the lower performing kids can re-take tests over and over until they raise their grade up to a D. Is fewer kids failing their true goal? Please let your voices be heard!
Sarah May 15, 2012 at 08:17 PM
SBG is teaching our children that mediocrity is acceptable -- even expected. We want more for our children. We want them to be inspired to learn and proud to achieve.
Roni Higgins May 16, 2012 at 12:25 PM
I have a son in college now and a junior at MGSH. What needed to be fixed was inconsistencies among departments in grading. In the past, 92% in 1 department was an A, an A- in another and even a B+ in a 3rd. Instead our district decides to try to return to the gtading we grew up with. C is average, B is great and only 1 or 2 kids will get a 4.0. Idealistic and SO unfair to our kids! At the senior high level Advanced classes, there is no extra credit allowed. The only way to hope for an A will be 100% on everything. Even then the grading will be subjective. For those who feel this shouldn't matter, I would assume you haven't been through the college process. A B average will make it hard to get into even the State schools. Don't even think about any scholarships. These kids are competing against state and nation wide districts whose kids can end up with weighted GPA of up to 5.0. I am so glad my son who has taken almost all HP or AP classes since 7th grade has only 1 more year here. If this policy isn't changed and I had a 9th grader, I would pull them from the district. SBG is negating the great teaching that is happening in this district. Please stop experimenting with our kids and drop it.
Mark Kulda May 16, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Well put, Roni. This system only allows absolute perfection to get a 4 and students who have a slight imperfection get a 3, which is sad. I don't think the administrators who run the district would like it if we based their salary on the concept of absolute perfection. One misspelling in an email and they'd lose 20% of their salary.....how would they like that? Well, that's exactly what they are doing to these students and its just not right.
anon.parent May 16, 2012 at 02:25 PM
We also have a HS junior and have been told repeatedly that we're the only parents questioning the system. Our student has always been in HP and AP classes, but the new system teaches the kids that working hard accomplishes nothing, so why even try? One AP teacher told the class that "meets" is a C or D, and can't explain how to get an "exceeds". Goodbye GPA and scholarships!
Jim Burgett May 16, 2012 at 04:48 PM
I'd like to encourage everyone to attend the Work Session this coming Thursday at 6pm at the ESC. There will be a presentation followed by a listening session where you can tell the Board what you think about SBG, and hopefully offer some suggestions on what can be done to resolve our implementation issues. I also have 3 students that are being measured by SBG, and I'm hopeful that we can make adjustments.
Wendy Erlien May 16, 2012 at 05:18 PM
If you're planning on attending the work session tomorrow, here's the details about the location, etc. http://maplegrove.patch.com/events/osseo-school-district-279-school-board-work-session-212dcb95
erik runge May 17, 2012 at 10:01 PM
will any of you be at tonight's meeting? My name is erik runge and I'm with Fox 9 news. please contact me if you are going to be there--- erik.runge@foxtv.com thanks--Erik
ScottRiddle May 17, 2012 at 10:51 PM
The comment by jodellriddle was not from the person who teaches in the district. That teacher asked her name be removed from the comment attributed to her.
Wendy Erlien May 17, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Responding to ScottRiddle -- the comment has been addressed and removed.
Steve McCuskey May 18, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Nicely put Sarah. One of the large problems we are seeing with the Districts mission statement of 'inspire learning', is that in fact this new grading system is turning true learners away from wanting to learn.
Steve McCuskey May 18, 2012 at 03:54 AM
anon.parent, nicely put. The more we dig into this, the more truth we find behind statements like yours. Teachers all over the districts are saying one thing and administration is saying something totally different. Lets see; 1,400+ educators say one thing, 8 or 10 administrators say 'No, that's not how it is'. REALLY? Please make sure your voice is heard by the board. We need everyone to speak out in a professional, non-emotional way so they fully understand the administration is paying us lip service and doing what they want... Thanks for speaking up.
Steve McCuskey May 18, 2012 at 04:06 AM
Thanks Jim. I am so sorry we couldn't stay for the entire night do to a band concert. PLEASE QUESTION THE DATA YOU ARE BEING PRESENTED. A survey of teachers where only 17% respond is not useful. A study of the top universities in the US is not useful - what do you think - maybe 1%, 0.5% of our Dist 279 students attend one of those institutions? We contacted 12 of the most popular MN/WI/IA and ND schools and they were stunned by the district data we presented them. Two more teachers approached me today (band concert) saying what the board is hearing is incorrect, and teachers are still very scared to speak out because of the earlier administration comments of 'support this or be quiet'. PLEASE HELP US FIX THIS SO OUR STUDENTS, YOUR STUDENTS, AREN'T THROWN UNDER THE GPA, SCHOLARSHIP, AND HEALTH CONCERNS BUS.
Steve McCuskey May 18, 2012 at 04:15 AM
Erik, thanks for posting here. I understand you were at the meeting tonight. Band concerts are more important so unfortunately I missed it; my wife attended the first half. In theory, SBG can be a good thing. Our research shows it's been implemented very differently in Dist 279 than in other districts across the state and nation. We are hearing horror stories from parents, teachers, and students, and administration continues to say it's a few problems here, a few teachers that aren't implementing it properly over there, etc. Some 'D' and 'F' students are doing better. That's great. Many 'A' and 'B' students are struggling and are giving up... One incorrect answer is a 'B', ten incorrect answers can be a 'B'; so why work harder. That's the attitude many great honors students are surviving with. It is a survival game for many. Thanks for attending the meeting tonight, hope you came away with many questions.
Wendy Erlien May 18, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Did anyone else attend the work session last night? Thoughts? I attended and hope to have the story up on Monday. About 10 parents shared their experiences with the school board - representing both the elementary & secondary grade levels. Total attendance in the audience area was maybe around 20-30, but I would say about 10 of those were staff members.
Anonymous May 18, 2012 at 08:58 PM
I was shocked when a board member stated that it takes 7 years to research and begin implementation of new curriculum. He then said "...sometimes you just need to implement". Here, the district spent just 2 years reviewing prior to implementation. Just 2 years versus 7 on something so important, across multiple subject matter, across K-12? One of the many issues with this is that when reviewing new curriculum and implementing, you are working with something that actually already exists versus teachers (either individually or as a team at the grade level within each building) creating their own assessments reflecting the standards. Every building (17 elementary multiplied by each grade level, multiple junior highs, and senior high schools) recreating the wheel so to speak - all different. Where is the standard in this?
Pam Isaacs May 21, 2012 at 05:33 PM
I did attend and speak at the meeting last Thursday. Even after attending, I feel very unclear on what will happen for next year. It was stated that report card grades will remain letter grades next year (please correct me if I'm wrong), but on the implementation schedule, it states 0-4. So will the 0-4 just be converted to A-F? I have children in elementary, jr high and high school and am especially concerned about my current sophomore and junior.
Wendy Erlien May 24, 2012 at 11:55 AM
For those that haven't read it yet, here's the latest article from the worksession. http://maplegrove.patch.com/articles/standards-based-grading-conversations-continue-in-district-279
Wendy Erlien May 24, 2012 at 11:59 AM
Pam, that is a good question about next year. I left the work session as well a little unclear as well as to whether the actual implementation schedule would change at all. I add that to my questions for when I meet with the district. I'm curious, have you asked the question to the district staff? If so, what has been the response?
Jeff Van Keulen June 05, 2012 at 04:03 PM
As a parent of a junior this year, we are especially disappointed in the SBG "system". To echo the sentiments of so many on this website, the current grading system is a complete disaster and puts our top performing kids at a disadvantage as they apply for colleges. If our student were younger, we would follow suit with others and remove her from the school district. Decisions made by the Osseo school district are affecting entire families as students' financial aid and college admissions are affected. As parents, lets all make sure we contact our school board and school officials to let them know how we feel. Change will come if we make ourselves heard.
Robert Gerhart October 17, 2012 at 03:11 PM
I have blogged a statement about SBG as a candidate running for school board. http://blog.electgerhart.org/2012/10/standards-based-grading.html

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