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Complaints about Claremont’s new education grading system prompt review

CLAREMONT — Criticism at Wednesday’s Claremont School Board meeting of the district’s new grading system has prompted a review.

The new system replaces the traditional letter grade system — A through F grading — with levels such as proficient, proficient plus and proficient with distinction.

“It’s based on competency,” said Middletown McGoodwin, Superintendent of SAU 6.

The new system was implemented throughout the SAU in the fall of 2012, after a pilot program, he said.

The idea behind the new system is to measure what students are actually learning by determining the level of competency they are at in a subject.

Different teachers focus on different areas of a subject, he said, and often give a letter grade based on varying factors.

“With an A, B or C, a student receives a B from one teacher and a different teacher in the same subject would give the student a different grade,” McGoodwin said.

Wednesday, though, some parents and teachers said the new system is confusing and not consistent with other schools and higher education.

In reaction, McGoodwin said Friday that he will contact parents and staff this week and ask them to complete a survey regarding the new system.

Then in March a committee to evaluate the new grading system will be formed, he said.

“We’re definitely not going to start over. What we are going to do is to evaluate and improve it,” McGoodwin said.


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