Implementation Halted for Revised Grading Policy

September 10, 2003
The implementation of the revised policy on how grades are determined and reported in the Montgomery County Public Schools has been temporarily postponed, following recognition by the Board of Education and superintendent that the policy needed a longer phase-in process to allow more opportunities for training, communication, and practice.

In response to concerns raised about whether the policy was well understood and being implemented on a consistent basis among schools, the Board of Education yesterday [Tuesday, September 9] endorsed a recommendation by Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools, to halt the implementation and prepare a multi-year plan that would respond to concerns by teachers, principals, parents, and other key stakeholders.

Over the past several weeks, problems with the implementation of the revised policy began surfacing, mostly based on differing interpretations of how the changes affected the grading of classroom activities and homework. The Board requested that an implementation plan be provided by this January and detail a phase-in process beginning with the 2004-2005 school year.

In the meantime, the school system will use the earlier grading and reporting policy (as amended April 14, 1993) and the administrative regulation (as revised October 1, 1996) for the remainder of this school year. This is the same policy and regulation used last year (see links below).

Among steps being taken now to improve the implementation process are the following:

* Involve stakeholders in the development of a multiyear plan detailing the alignment of grading and reporting with curriculum revision, the congruence of grading and reporting practices with procedures for students with limited English proficiency and students with disabilities, the phased-in development of an elementary report card, and a long-term plan for staff development.

* Immediately clarify issues related to the role of effort, participation, and homework in determining a grade.

* Train and develop all staff throughout the current school year for implementation of the revised grading and reporting policy for the 2004-2005 school year.

* Begin an aggressive communication plan around grading and reporting with special emphasis on grades reflecting student achievement.

The Board of Education yesterday noted that in postponing implementation of the revised policy, it was not contemplating any changes to the new policy itself.

At all levels, the expectation was that grades under the revised policy would reflect actual academic performance compared to grade-level expectations, rather than objectives assigned to individual students.

In the elementary and middle school grades, for example, courses have a curriculum framework and curriculum blueprint that outline the grade and course expectations. High school courses have curriculum frameworks and/or course outlines and objectives that outline these performance expectations.

The policy and administrative regulation now being used for the current school year (2003-2004) is available online at the links below.

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