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BCPS to hold public meeting on new grading policy

If you have questions or concerns about Baltimore County Public Schools’ new grading policy (and there might be one or two of you out there who do), you’ll want to attend this meeting:

BCPS Central Area Education Advisory Council December Meeting: BCPS Grading and Reporting

WHAT? BCPS staff from the Division of Curriculum and Instruction will present on Grading and Reporting.

WHEN? Wednesday, December 14th, 2016
7pm – 9pm

WHERE? BCPS Greenwood Administration Building E,
Room 114, 6901 N. Charles Street, Towson, Maryland 21204

WHO? All BCPS stakeholders are invited to attend. This includes parents, teachers, students, staff, and community members.

QUESTIONS? Contact Aimee Freeman
Email: contactcaeac@gmail.com

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4 Comments on "BCPS to hold public meeting on new grading policy"

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Ann Costantino
There were actually two grading policy meetings on December 14th. One for CEAEC at Greenwood, and the other at a Baltimore County high school. During the high school grading policy meeting, one of the authors of the grading policy change generously gave her time, spoke and took questions from concerned parents and PTSA officers. Linda Marchineck, from BCPS’s  Department of Research, Accountability and Assessment, gave some background on how BCPS decided to go about changing the grading policy in the first place. According to Marchineck, each policy comes up every five years and the Grading and Reporting Policy had been untouched for over twenty years and it was ripe for a renewal. Some issues that led to the change, she said, dealt with the fact that grade books are now electronic, whereas before they were in hardcopy form. This led to an ability to see what others were doing which brought about a conversation regarding equitable grading practices across the district. It got the conversation started and, in Ms. Marchineck’s words, had colleagues asking questions of each other about “what’s in your grade book?” or “how do you do yours?”. One issue that was discovered that led to a need for change dealt with some teachers giving out extra credit for students bringing in supplies (such as tissues) which creates an inequitable grading practice across the system and even between classes within the same school building. One of the high school administrators in attendance admitted that the rollout of this… Read more »
Joanne C. Simpson
Yes, Competency-Based Education is an approach that currently emphasizes ongoing online/computer-based assessments and testing. It will be interesting to see what percentage of software-delivered lessons and testing will be done here at BCPS–and how much screen time will increase–especially in the next year or two as STAT (the laptop initiative) is set to spread to all grades. For now, computer-embedded assessments are already being used in BCPS classrooms–for diagnostic, formative and summative (the graded kind) of assessments–a running tally of $12 million in recent contracts, and counting. The following are mostly aligned with STAT. This information has been pulled together, and now seems a good time for parents to know what’s around–and to determine how well these offerings work so far. One program is iReady/Curriculum Associates, which is used primarily in elementary grades. See some reviews here: https://curriculum-associates.pissedcons…. BCPS just tripled the contract to $1.2 million. Teachers I’ve talked to at BCPS are finding lots of problems, such as iReady not really differentiating learning for each student as advertised. Other feedback? Contract info here: https://www.bcps.org/apps/bcpscontracts/… Another is Kahoot, a game-based model that ranks students against each other on screens at the front of the room, yet has no evidence of positive learning outcomes. (It also rewards speed above all.) From the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/17/techno… Others are Padlet and Quizlet (formative, for feedback). And the testing–and grading–of students is already happening via screens. The computer-based testing company Escoreny, as well as Pearson software, are being used for end-of-unit tests and… Read more »
Joanne C. Simpson
The Central Area Education Advisory Council meeting last night drew a good crowd and still lots of concerns about BCPS’ Grading and Reporting. A few of the ongoing issues: * Lines snaking around ‘learning cottages’ for high school students doing redoes, many panicked about grades as they apply to colleges. * Students showing up at 6 a.m. to also redo assignments, depending on each teacher’s particular policy. * Elementary school grading ‘rubrics’ — say 3 out of 4 points on an assignment — being translated by percentages into Cs, when apparently there’s another way to properly grade via rubrics. (That seems super important to clarify, as it can have a huge effect on grades). So far, Policy 5210 is not quite hitting the goals of “equitable and accurate” in grading. BCPS administrators and staff from the Division of Curriculum and Instruction were on hand to offer help and gather feedback. And a very thoughtful presentation and Q & A featured Christina Byers, BCPS Senior Executive Director Curriculum Operations, 443-809-3866. Here is her email: cbyers@bcps.org and Twitter feed @CbyersChristina. Community Superintendent Dr. Penelope Martin-Knox shared her e-mail for parents with concerns at pmartin4@bcps.org (Another presenter last night across the county was Linda A. Marchineck, BCPS Coordinator, Accountability and School Improvement. Here is her email lmarchineck@bcps.org, and a link to other contacts in Research, Accountability, and Assessment here: https://www.bcps.org/offices/accountability_research_testing/contactus.html Byers spoke about a primary goal of the policy: to enhance student learning, with greater opportunities for proficiency and demonstrating levels of performance.… Read more »
Joanne C. Simpson

Causey also noted that students often do better with paper and pencil quizzes and tests, which has been shown in the district and nationwide on standardized tests such as PARCC. And she added: “I have concerns about computer-embedded assessments being an increasing part of what we are doing.”

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