A few years ago, teachers at Ellis Middle School in Austin, Minn., might have said that their top students were easy to identify: they completed their homework and handed it in on time; were rarely tardy; sat in the front of the class; wrote legibly; and jumped at the chance to do extra-credit assignments.
But after poring over four years of data comparing semester grades with end-of-the-year test scores on state subject exams, the teachers at Ellis began to question whether they really knew who the smartest students were.
About 10 percent of the students who earned A’s and B’s in school stumbled during end-of-the-year exams. By contrast, about 10 percent of students who scraped along with C’s, D’s and even F’s — students who turned in homework late, never raised their hands and generally seemed turned off by school — did better than their eager-to-please B+ classmates.
Standards-based grading. What a concept.
The superintendent in Potsdam, Patrick Brady, who has been rolling out a revamped grading system this fall in his 1,450-student district, said it would allow teachers to recognize academic strengths where they often are not discovered — among minority students, or students from poorer families, or boys — subgroups whose members may be unable or unwilling to fit in easily to the culture of school.
A concept whose time has come.
That's not to say schools still shouldn't track. Evanston--you are going down the wrong path.
Content matters--not the "experience".
More. at Memeorandum.
Related old post: Gender Gap in Suburban Schools