9/20/2017 7:58:00 AM Standards-based grading makes district-wide debut in Windom
When Windom Area School District parents, whose children are in grades 5-12, receive their children's report card this year, it's going to look much different than in past years.
For elementary students the report card will look the same as last year. But for all other students, it will be filled with numbers rather than letters. That's because 2017-18 marks the first year Windom Area Schools is rolling out, district-wide, standards-based grading.
Gone, for the most part, are letter grades, which in the past has reflected a combination of a student's academic knowledge as well as his or her behavior. In, are numeral assessments in two forms - one reflects a student's academic progress; the other, the student's behavior.
"We're more focused on what is the learning that's happening in relation to what we want students to know," says Melissa Radeke, the district's Director of Teaching and Learning and grades 4-6 principal. "The standard is what we want them to know. If they attain that, great, and we should grade them accordingly. Some kids need more time and that's where the student might be penalized (under the previous system) if he needs more time to process and understand the material."
"It's a better way of reporting student learning," says Windom Area High School Principal Jake Tietje, explaining why the district has made the change to SBG. "Minnesota is a standards-based state and all the way through we should be teaching the standards. Now, we are just finding a better way to report, specifically, where the students are at in their knowledge of those standards."
The switch to standards-based grading falls in line with Windom's move to becoming a standards-based school. And Windom's move to that approach coincides with the state's standards-based approach.
For much more on this first part of a two-part series, see the story on the Faith & Family page in the Sept. 20 issue of the Cottonwood County Citizen on newsstands today.