LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Clark County School District leaders are proposing some major changes to the ways in which students are graded.
The proposal is a result of a grassroot efforts led by principals to achieve an "equitable grading system," according to the district.
A board meeting vote on the following proposed changes is likely by early July:
- Students would be allowed to retake tests and redo assignments;
- the minimum possible grade would be 50%, not zero; and
- a student could turn in assignments late without it penalizing their grade.
Parents and teachers have mixed feelings on the issue.
"The concepts of what type of grading system we're moving to, I think, are more student focused," said CCSD parent and Nevada PTA President Rebecca Garcia.
One third grade teacher said he feels the idea of giving students unlimited time to turn in work is "too much."
"If you're teaching kids that they can turn in an assignment at any time, when they go to college we're doing them a disservice," said Lenny Lither, a CCSD teacher.
Lither also said he worries about the workload this might put on teachers, especially at the end of the semester if, or when, work comes piling in.
"Especially in older grades. That sometimes take a lot longer to grade. My sister's actually a high school English teacher, and grading the papers takes her a ton of time," said Lither. "It's going to put a huge extra burden on the teachers, and it's not going to have a long-term benefit for the students."
He instead offered an alternative.
"They could possibly say, 'Hey, two weeks from the due date, turn it in.' And an additional two weeks once the teacher gives it back to you," said Lither.
Garcia said the teachers at her 11-year-old son's school already allow late work and test retakes in a style based on mastery of concept. She called it successful.
"For example, a lot of kids who have ADHD, executive function, or other learning disabilities, oftentimes the ability to retake an assessment or turn in late work, isn't about them being lazy or them not having responsibility," said Garcia.
She said inconsistency among grading practices has been a big problem for families for years, and that she feels these are problems that needed to be addressed.
"Are we focusing on the needs of the student first?" said Garcia. "If a kid missed four or five assignments at the beginning of the semester, if they aren't allowed to retake or turn in late, then their whole grade's gone. What's the incentive for that student to actually keep trying?"
The reform efforts come after more than a year of distance learning, when district data showed 90% of CCSD's comprehensive schools gave out more ‘F’s during the first semester of this school year than they did last school year.
CCSD's communications office responded to our request for an interview by providing a statement, reading in part:
The Clark County School District has been evaluating the need for potential district-wide grading reform ... Grades should reflect the most recent learning, not an average of a lower score with a newer, higher score.
Nevada Academic Content Standards are built on a yearlong mastery process. Grades should reflect the most recent learning, not an average of a lower score with a newer, higher score. The district looks forward to getting additional input on the proposal from the community... at public board meetings in the coming months.
Community conversations were previously hosted on this topic, though Garcia said attendance was minimal.