Wake Ed

April 1, 2014

Wake County not planning to change elementary school report cards

Wake County school administrators aren’t recommending changing the elementary school report cards to reflect the new five-point grading scale on stae exams.

The Wake County school system isn’t planning to change its report cards for elementary schools even though they’ll no longer be aligned with the state’s grading scale for end-of-grade exams.

Starting this school year, the end-of-grade and end-of-course exams will now be on a five-point grading scale with levels 3 through 5 being passing. Wake’s elementary school report cards will stick with a four-point scale with levels 3 and 4 being passing.

You’ll have situations where a student scores a Level 5 on the state exam but only gets a Level 4 for the subject on the report card.

At the recommendation of the state Department of Public Instruction, the State Board of Education voted last month to change Level 3 to the equivalent of high Level 2 scores on the prior scale, Level 4 now equals the old Level 3 and Level 5 equals the old Level 4.

Wake County school board members made fun of the new state scale as they asked administrators at last week’s policy committee meeting about the report cards.

“The state has now put in a 5-point grading scale, which I think is even less logical than their previous four-point grading scale,” school board member Jim Martin, chair of the policy committee, said with a laugh. “So I can’t say I’m a fan of the state’s five-point grading scale.

My only question here is everything else about this is pretty much a mirror of DPI. Do we need to try to mirror DPI in the K-5 grade?”

“Our recommendation, Dr. Martin, would be not to, especially as early as it is at this point and based on how you saw last week what the Level 3 really looks like,” replied Todd Wirt, Wake’s assistant superintendent for academics.

“What they did with the level was ridiculous,” Martin responded.

“I’m not sure that’s a formula we would like to mirror in the district as this point,” Wirt replied.

“Since everything else mirrors DPI policy, we need to at least address it,” Martin responded.

“But that’s the policy of this week,” school board vice chairman Tom Benton added.

School board member Bill Fletcher said the task of communicating the new state scale to parents will be “monumental.”

“I only raise it because of DPI’s switch,” Martin responded. “We need to make sure that we made a decision intentionally as opposed to oh we just let it happen.”

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The WakeEd blog is devoted to discussing and answering questions about the major issues facing the Wake County school system. WakeEd is maintained by The News & Observer's Wake schools reporter, T. Keung Hui.

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