Most parents look for As and Bs on their child's report card, but some school districts are switching to a "standards based" system where numbers tell the story. The problem is, most parents don't understand what the new grades mean.
The new grading style started this year, and it assigns the numbers - zero through four -- instead of letter grades. The best of the best earn a four, and three represents the standard. The smaller the number, the poorer the grade.
While that seems to make sense -- and many parents don't have a problem with the grading system itself, they are irked by how it was implemented.
The district brought in several teachers and principals to sing the praises of standards-based grading, but even they admit that the standards and benchmarks aren't clearly defined in all areas.
The grades are driven by testing students' knowledge in an area, and it relies little on homework and the extra credit many students have used to boost letter grades. So far, the district says students' GPAs have not changed much from last year to this year.
Minnetonka has been using the standards-based grading system since 2008, and Wayzata's school district is looking into it.