A closer look at grading

School board work session to focus on grading at MHS, public invited to attend


Competency-based education, and particularly standards-based grading, has been a topic of discussion for the Marshalltown School Board this year, and a public work session on that subject and more will take place this afternoon.

“This was at the board’s request, to get more information out there about standards-based grading and competency-based education,” said district Communications Director Andrew Potter of the session to be held 5 p.m. today at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave.

The board requested the meeting to get more information on standards-based grading earlier this year. Part of the session is set to focus on how CBE and standards-based grading work in some of the district’s buildings.

Not included among buildings currently using standards-based grading is Marshalltown High School, and Principal Jacque Wyant is set to present on the high school’s grade-book.

“At MHS, it is not standards-based grading,” she said, adding the traditional A, B, C, D, F scale is currently used. However, she said one goal for the high school is to align proficiency scales to the existing letter grade system.

The proficiency scales would be used to determine the level of learning that has occurred for a student, and the letter grade would be given to represent that level of learning, Wyant said. She added there was a time when moving the high school to standards-based grading was proposed, but that is no longer the plan.

“We’re trying to get it to the point where all the grade-books look more alike, how the teachers are grading learning,” Wyant said. “I need that letter (grade) to be a reflection of what students have learned in terms of the content.”

The idea, she said, is to ensure students are receiving a grade that reflects how much they’ve learned rather than “jumping through hoops” to attain a certain letter grade. She said she wants more consistency when it comes to how different categories are weighted in the grade; categories include tests, quizzes, homework, in-class work and projects, among others.

Wyant said the presentation is meant to inform those in attendance on how grading at MHS currently works and steps that have been taken to collect the thoughts of teachers, students and parents on the grade-book.

District Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson is also set to present at today’s work session.

For more information on the work session, call the Central Administration office at 641-754-1000