Grading plan does not include A's, B's

October 20, 1994|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Sun Staff Writer

Only a few weeks into school, some of the students at 24 Anne Arundel elementary schools already know there aren't any A's or B's in store for them this year.

Instead, their academic progress will be graded differently, based on their actual progress in mastering skills.

"Our instruction system is changing and we need to have a better system of communicating the progress and growth of students to the parents and the students themselves," said Nancy Mann, assistant superintendent for instruction for the county school system.

She and other administrators gave the county Board of Education an update on the project at a meeting last night at school system headquarters.

Students, Ms. Mann said, are being evaluated on whether they are consistently demonstrating a skill, developing a skill, or not demonstrating a skill at all.

"To do this, we create a portfolio of the student's work," she said. "Rather than giving an A, a B, a C or a D, we have products to show. We're looking at the performance of a single student, not comparing them to other children."

The program affects 4-year-olds and kindergartners at 20 schools: Glendale, George Cromwell, Point Pleasant, Ferndale, Park, Belvedere, Broadneck, Bodkin, Solley, Sunset, Van Bokkelen, Odenton, Harman, Jessup, Crofton Meadows, Annapolis, Germantown, Parole, Deale and Mayo elementaries.

First- and second-graders at four schools -- Point Pleasant, High Point, South Shore and Georgetown East elementaries -- also are participating in the project.

The youngest students, pre-kindergartners who are age 4, will be graded on how well they listen, exhibit self-control, adjust to new situations, and whether they show self-confidence and a willingness to take risks among other skills.

Kindergartners will be evaluated for some of those same skills, and on whether they can identify the numbers zero through 10, count to 31, add or subtract, and recognize basic shapes.

Students in grades one and two are being evaluated on their ability to work in groups or independently and complete class assignments on time; and the skills they show in math, science, social studies, art, music, technology and other subjects.

Ms. Mann said the new grading structure will be important because with new state mandates, students are being taught problem-solving and communication skills that become more difficult to evaluate.

Also last night, the board approved spending $4.3 million to renovate Adams Park Elementary School in Annapolis so that it can be reopened for about neighborhood students in 1998. The board promised parents they will reopen the school, but have not yet located a new locations for the program for students with behavioral problems that now occupies the site.

On another issue, the board learned last night that 114 more school secretaries are needed, as well as 61 more guidance counselors and eight new assistant principals to staff elementary schools properly.

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