(Daily Times (Farmington, NM) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 13--FARMINGTON -- Farmington school board members and administrators will be dedicating their board meeting work session today to providing an opportunity for parents and staff to voice their concerns about the implementation of the standards-based grading system.
Sandy Schumacher, president of the Farmington Municipal Schools Board of Education, said it is important for all the board members to listen to what the parents are saying about the changes proposed for student grading.
"We just don't want to hear one side," Schumacher said. "Good or bad, we want to hear both sides of it. It's the only way we can improve it."
Standards-based grading is an "outcome-based" system designed to help students become proficient in the subjects they are studying and to allow teachers to tailor the instruction to provide each student with the best chance of success, said Curriculum Coordinator Julie Mitchell.
"Instead of saying all kids have to do this assignment, we say all kids have to reach this goal," Mitchell said. "By saying all kids need to reach this goal, it gives teachers a huge amount of flexibility to differentiate instruction for all kids."
Learning goals were established for kindergarten through eighth grade. Third-grade goals include capitalization, punctuation and comprehending literature, for example.
The system was adopted by the school board in 2009 with appropriate changes made to instruction in 2011.
Teachers started using the new report cards in the 2012-2013 school year with students in kindergarten through third grade.
The district has posted the learning goals for each grade on its website, defining what learning goals will be covered in subjects such as math and English.
Schumacher said the district and the school board are working on a survey they will send to parents and teachers asking for suggestions on improving the grading system. People who respond to the survey will be anonymous.
Multiple parents brought up the idea of an anonymous survey during the last two curriculum meetings as a way to provide an opportunity for teachers who fear repercussions.
"What I feel positive about is there are steps being taken to listen to the parents," Schumacher said. "In my mind, the surveys need to be anonymous to get a better understanding of how widespread an issue might be."
Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @jkelloggdt on Twitter.
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