Junior High to Return to Letter Grades

Junior High to Return to Letter Grades
Posted on 05/23/2019
Standards-Based Learning 2020

Following a year of standards-based grading at Northbrook Junior High, the district is making adjustments for the 2019-20 school year. Student, staff and parent feedback provided useful information in crafting the changes.  Superintendent Dr. Larry Hewitt presented the results of the surveys conducted this month at the May 21 Board of Education meeting.

Standards-based grading at the junior high was implemented this year after research and planning by a district-wide Report Card Committee and NBJH staff. The practice relies on a number scale of 1 to 4 to be assigned to each learning standard in a given subject, instead of an overall grade.

“Studying (standards-based grading) can take us only so far. It’s in the actual ‘doing’ that allows us to identify what works and what needs to be changed,” Dr. Hewitt commented.

Research reflects many positive benefits of Standards-Based Learning, so some classroom instructional practices will continue to be used.  The part that will be changing focuses primarily on grading practices.  “We know there is no perfect grading system,” Dr. Hewitt said. There is so much that goes into the teaching-learning process and assigning the grade is just the final step.”

Changes for next year include:

  • An overall course letter grade (A – F) will be given each grading period.
  • Assessments/projects will be graded using number correct out of total possible points and/or will have a rubric detailing A – F levels of work.
  • The percentage grading scale will be 90/80/70/60.
  • Homework will count for 10% of overall trimester grades.

Standards-Based Learning will continue to guide instructional practices. The main idea of this effort is to help students change their focus from how many points something is worth to focusing on what they need to learn and understand to be successful in the classroom.

Healthy classroom instructional practices that will continue include:

  • Specifying high-priority standards and learning targets for each course
  • Designing assignments/assessments/projects using the standards and learning targets
  • Characteristics of Successful Learners will continue to be studied to determine how to best communicate behaviors that impact learning
  • Teachers will provide students with specific feedback for how to improve
  • Reassessment opportunities may be provided by teachers, but the practice will continue to be studied to determine how it is best implemented for positive impact on student learning.