Isle of Wight elementary schools to use new grading system

Published 6:19 pm Friday, October 26, 2018

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Come January, report cards for children enrolled at Isle of Wight County elementary schools will look a little different.

For grades K-2, gone are the traditional OSNU letter grades (outstanding, satisfactory, needs improvement and unsatisfactory.) These have been replaced by a numerical scale of one through four. Four denotes exceeding expectations, or scoring between 90 to 100 percent on assignments. Three denotes meeting expectations, or scoring between 80 to 89 percent. Two denotes demonstrating progress, or scoring between 70 to 79 percent, and one denotes demonstrating minimal progress, or scoring 69 percent or lower.

These grades will be given quarterly for each of the K-2 core classes (English, math, science and social studies,) plus each of the first four of the “five Cs” from Virginia’s profile of a graduate. These are creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration. For the fifth “C,” citizenship, students will receive a separate numerical grade for each letter of GREAT, which stands for growth, respect, empathy, accountability and trustworthiness.

The numerical grading system will also be used for resource classes, which include coding, library, STEM, art, music and physical education, for grades K-5.

Elementary report cards for grades K-4 will also now incorporate a student’s Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA,) which uses color codes. For example, white indicates a third grade reading level. In addition to the new report cards, the division plans to also send a chart home to parents that explains each color code and its corresponding grade level.

Beginning in third grade, traditional A, B, C, D and F grades will be used for English and math. A letter X may also be used in lieu of A through F to indicate an area of concern with regards to the English or math Standards of Learning test.

For English, parents will not only see an overall letter grade, but also individual letter grades for various verbal, reading, research and writing skills such as the giving of oral presentations, expanding vocabulary when reading, comprehension of fiction versus nonfiction and writing legibly in cursive. For math, parents will see a similar overall grade and breakdown of skills, including computation and estimation, measurement and geometry, probability and statistics, and patterns, functions and algebra.

Third graders will still receive a one through four rating for science and social studies.

According to Susan Goetz, the division’s director of curriculum and instruction, prior to implementing the new report card system, division staff met with three parent groups to discuss what was being proposed. Each group responded positively to the new system, she said.

Though the School Board was briefed on the new system during its October meeting, no vote was taken on the matter. Lynn Briggs, the division’s director of community and media relations, said the matter did not require board approval.