Fort Wayne Community Schools is trying to get the word out about a new high school grading policy effective this fall.
The district is encouraging parents to attend a meeting at 7 p.m. today in the North Side High School cafeteria to hear more about the changes, which district officials say will make grading practices uniform and fair across the districts high schools.
For years teachers at the districts high schools have taken their own approaches to grading, giving some students unfair advantages, according to officials. To address the issue, FWCS formed a task force of teachers and administrators to examine unclear grading questions, including how to address late assignments or students who refuse to turn in work but perform well on tests.
As a result of the task forces recommendations, starting next fall teachers are to give students a chance to finish their work even if they missed the deadline. Students can be docked for late work, but zeros will only be used when there is insufficient evidence of student learning. District officials said the new grading scale will prevent zeros from being weighted unfairly in comparison with other grades.
The new grading system will reflect what students have learned rather than focusing too much on nonacademic factors, such as attitude, effort or punctuality, according to officials.
Im sure this will make some people nervous, FWCS Spokeswoman Krista Stockman said. Any kind of change makes some people nervous. What we really want to stress is that we want to be fair. No matter what teacher you have, no matter what school you are in, you should be graded the same.
Tim Westerberg, a grading expert from Colorado, led the task force, which examined national research regarding the role of non-academic factors in grades, such as attendance, discipline, work habits, participation and the practice of issuing extra credit.
The district conducted a parent meeting in December to discuss possible changes.
Parents who cannot attend tonights meeting shouldnt hesitate to ask questions about the change, Stockman said.