Beaver Local changing grade system

CALCUTTA — The academic performance of Beaver Local students in grades K-2 will be measured differently starting this year.

Superintendent Eric Lowe reported at this week’s school board meeting they will likely replace the traditional A-F grades with a numerical system they believe better reflects student academic progress while bringing them in alignment with state standards.

“We just felt (A-F) … doesn’t completely reflect where a child is at” in the lower grade levels, where achieving progress is more important than grades, he said.

Instead of A-F, students in K-2 will receive either a 3 (meeting standards), 2 (satisfactory progress) or 1 (limited progress/below grade-level expectation) in the 10 to 15 academic/social skills areas listed on report cards.

“We just felt … it doesn’t completely reflect where a child is (academically),” Lowe said of the traditional A-F grade system.

Not every students begins school with the same set of skills, and measuring progress will help them better pinpoint the academic needs of students so the school can better focus its resources in assisting them achieve and exceed proficiency.

“Students entering kindergarten have a lot of different experiences. Some have been to preschool, some have been to preschool for multiple years, and some have no preschool experience at all,” he said. “We’re just trying to lay the foundation for children as they move forward.”

Lowe said a report card committee of teachers and administrators was formed several years ago to study the issue and they are recommending making the switch.

The committee had considered using the numerical system while still giving students an overall grade of A-F but abandoned the idea, thinking it would be too confusing.

Lowe said all of this will be explained in detail to parents as the move forward.