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New grading system concerns some Joplin parents - KOAM TV 7

New grading system concerns some Joplin parents

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Students at McKinley Elementary, Kelsey Norman and and East Middle School in Joplin will use a different kind of grade cards under a pilot program, and some parents are not happy with the decision.

It's called Standards Based Grading and it eliminates report cards showing A's, B's, C's D's and F's.  Instead, district officials say it breaks down what students get and what parts of subject they need help improving.

Administrators say the new system does create more documenting work for teachers, who set up a portfolio for each student.

The new grading system uses the terms Mastery, Approaching Mastery, Developing and Not Mastered.

It details aspects of subjects the students are learning.

But one parent says it isn't clear how parents can help a child improve and under the system students can fix homework without losing academic points for turning it in late.

"Later on, the workforce - my boss gives me a deadline, I'm not going to know what that is because I've been so relaxed in school and not given those - I can turn it in when I want," says Jennifer Steele, a concerned parent.  "I don't that is showing anything."

While parents are concerned kids aren't learning the responsibility of getting homework turned in by a deadline, administrators say the old way of grading focused too much on who learned information fast.

"If they get 80% we never go back and try to have them learn that 20% they missed," says Angie Besendorfer, the Joplin Schools Assistant Superintendent.  "We just move on and it was a B and you move on.  In this system they get a second chance to master that or a third chance or 4th chance, and so it's about learning instead of about just a grade."

Besendorfer says students who have mastered a concept should get opportunities to do more enrichment type of work which they find fun.  But parents we spoke to say their children pretty much do what the class does as a whole.

A meeting is scheduled for parents of students at East Middle School so they can ask questions.  That meeting is scheduled for Monday at 6 p.m.

The elementary schools will also have meetings but they have yet to be scheduled.

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