Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando County abandons proposal for uniform grading policy in elementary schools

BROOKSVILLE — When the school district started to ponder a policy to get rid of zeroes from elementary grade books, School Board members heard from a fired-up public.

Most who offered feedback railed against the proposed policy, which district officials said was meant to give students a fighting chance if they miss some assignments.

Kids are coddled enough, opponents said. Don't give them something for nothing. It won't serve them well when they get to the real world.

Board members agreed, district officials backed off, and the issue has been taken off an upcoming workshop agenda.

Lost in the uproar, though, was another idea offered at the same time: setting a districtwide policy for how class work, homework, quizzes and tests are weighted to calculate an elementary student's overall grade.

Under the proposal, assessments such as tests and quizzes would account for 80 percent of a student's overall grade, while homework and other components selected by the teacher would comprise the other 20 percent.

Currently, that ratio can vary from school to school and even classroom to classroom, assistant superintendent Sonya Jackson said. The goal is to establish a uniform system that is fairer to students, especially those who transfer from one school to another, she said.

"That is what we're looking at," Jackson said. "Consistency across the board."

Debbie Pfenning, the district's elementary curriculum specialist, was among staffers who recommended both policies.

"An A in my classroom might be a C in that classroom," Pfenning explained. "We're just trying to level the playing field."

But since the two policies were offered at the same time, the grade-weight proposal got shelved with the no-zero idea — for now, anyway.

"Maybe we shouldn't have bundled them together," Pfenning said. "Live and learn."

The idea is one that teachers can support if it's done correctly, said Joe Vitalo, president of the Hernando Classroom Teachers Association.

"Teachers feel that, yes, there needs to be a standard across the line," Vitalo said. "The question is where that mark is going to fall. That will be the debate."

The district may want to consider the definition of an "assessment," Vitalo said. Teachers, he said, need some leeway to use methods other than standard tests and quizzes to evaluate a student's progress.

"If I'm a teacher that gives a lot of projects, it's not going to be just 20 percent," Vitalo said. "That's the flexibility teachers are looking for."

Joe Clifford, principal at J.D. Floyd K-8, agreed.

Principals and team leaders provided input on the grade-weighting proposal and supported the final version, Clifford said. Those administrators and educators are determined to make sure teachers retain enough freedom to do their jobs, he said.

"Everything doesn't have to be dictated from on high," Clifford said. "Teachers should be able to determine what they feel is appropriate to assess and what's happening in their classroom."

Pasco and Hillsborough counties do not have a set policy for grade weighting, officials with those districts said. Pinellas officials could not be reached.

Jackson and Pfenning said they're not sure when they will come back before the board with the grade-weight proposal.

That's unfortunate, Clifford said.

It would be a much easier pitch than the controversial elimination of zeroes — a proposal that Clifford also staunchly supported.

"It's throwing the baby out with the bathwater," he said.

Tony Marrero can be reached at tmarrero@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1431.

Hernando County abandons proposal for uniform grading policy in elementary schools 07/18/09 [Last modified: Saturday, July 18, 2009 1:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Gov. Rick Scott's family history of alcohol abuse could decide 'liquor wall" bill

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott must decide Wednesday whether to let Walmart and other big-box stores sell liquor, and he says a factor in his decision is the history of alcohol abuse in his family.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott is considering a veto of a bill that would allow Walmart, Target and other big box retail stores to sell liquor. [Andres Leiva | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Tampa lands Super Bowl in 2021

    Bucs

    Tampa's Super again. Or at least it will be soon.

    Mike Tomlin celebrates with LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu after the Steelers beat the Cardinals in 


Super Bowl XLIII  on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. [Times files (2009)
  3. Spacewalking astronauts pull off urgent repairs at International Space Station (w/video)

    Space

    CAPE CANAVERAL — Spacewalking astronauts completed urgent repairs at the International Space Station on Tuesday, replacing equipment that failed three days earlier and restoring a backup for a vital data-relay system.

    In this NASA provided frame from video, NASA astronaut Jack Fischer works to install antennas at the International Space Station while astronaut Peggy Whitson, not pictured, works on repairs Tuesday, May 23, 2017. [NASA via AP]
  4. Forecast: Severe storms, gusty winds for Tampa Bay as cold front arrives Wednesday

    Weather

    Muggy and dry conditions will prevail across the Tampa Bay region ahead of a cold front that could produce gusty winds and potentially severe storms late Wednesday.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  5. For starters: Rays vs. Angels, with Cobb leading the way

    Blogs

    Rays veteran RHP Alex Cobb had a lot to say Monday about the team needing to focus on getting past .500 and building a winning record.

    And after the disappointing 3-2 loss that …

    Alex Cobb will start tonight when the Rays play the Angels.