M, P, N, Stays

If there's one thing that's as sure as death and taxes, it's the fact that when government officials make a mistake they will never admit it and even worse they will cling to the mistake. Case in point.

Last May county school administrators asked the school board to approve an enhanced grading system for grades K-4. Little information was given at the time just what a drastic change was being proposed. We board members should have asked a lot more questions at the time.

The new grading system replaces the standard A, B, C with M, P, N and from every teacher and parent I've talked with, the new system is a total failure as a grading system but might have some value as an evaluation tool. The new system is a local experiment and could never be expanded any further. It also eliminates the honor roll program. 

At Thursday's school board meeting, a majority of board members voted to continue the failed system at least to the end of this school year. So to those of you have expressed dissatisfaction with the new system, looks like we're stuck with it for now.

There may very well be some parents that like the new system. In fact board member Gary Ubbin said everybody he has talked to loves it but I haven't heard a single positive statement about it.

If you like the new system or if you don't like it, you should  contact your school board representative and let them know.

Grading system stays

Mary E. Hinds News Herald

The Loudon County School Board voted Thursday night to stick with the new grading system until the end of the school year.


The new system, which has replaced the traditional A, B and C grades, rewards a student with an "M" is they have mastered a skill, a "P" if they are making progress and an "N" if a student has not mastered a skill. 


Elementary Supervisor Kathy Green addressed the board explaining teachers are receiving comments and questions from parents about the new system and the comments have been both pro and con. She said the plan is to survey parents and teachers in March which "gives everybody a chance to get used to the system."  She also said there will be a grade-level review of the grading system and changes made to the timing of certain classes in the school year. She told the board they had three options - stick with the new system, return to the old A,B,C grading system, or produce a duel report card that shows both sets of marks. 

Board member Van Shaver, who brought the subject to the board's attention at the last workshop because he said he had been fielding a lot of questions and complains from parents, moved that the system return to the old report cards but he said he had no objection if both systems were represented. He told the board parents "are just not comfortable with what they are seeing on the new report cards." His motion did not get a second. 

Board member Gary Ubben, a UT professor and professional educator, said it would be better to give the new system a chance. "It is linked to standards," he said, adding the system actually gives "more information to parents."  He also told the board he has heard from people in his district who really like it. 

Board Chairman Soctt Newman moved the county schools change to a duel report card - one that has both sets of marks. Shaver seconded the motion. "It's too early to make that decision," Ubben protested adding teachers are still learning the new system which takes time and that making them come up duel grades for each student would be "loading them down with a lot of duel responsibilities." 

Board member Steve Harrelson said he had spoken to several teachers who prefer the old system but they certainly don't want to do both, especially since the new system takes so long. Using both systems would force teachers to "spend hours and hours to grade these kids," Harrelson told the board.  The board then voted on the motion for report cards with both set of marks. The motion failed. 

Board member Larry Proaps moved to stick with the new system until the end of the school year and decide in the spring whether to keep the new system, tweak it, go to duel grades or go back to the old A,B, Cs. 

Director of Loudon County Schools Wayne Honeycutt told the board school administrators would be looking at the new grading system. "Our best bet is to at least give this a try," he said. 

Only Shaver voted in opposition to sticking with the new system until the end of the school year then reevaluating it.