Davis District Implements Number Grades

Davis District Implements Number Grades

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FARMINGTON, Utah (AP) -- Applying its own version of competency-based grading to the elementary-school level, the Davis School District is changing letter grades to a numbered grading system intended to represent skill mastery.

The new grading system, called Desk Report, uses the numbers one to four. A four means a student understands key concepts, demonstrates required skills and applies knowledge of the standard. A one means a student has not demonstrated understanding of key concepts, skills and knowledge of the standards.

Forty of the district's 53 elementary schools already are using the new system and all schools are to use it by Thanksgiving.

The first sets of grades in the traditional school track will go out the second week in November.

Christine Wahlquist, district research and assessment director, said the new system separates things like doing homework and participating in class from the final assessment. Those things are given the numeric ranking. It's possible for a student to get a four on achieving a standard and a one on completing homework.

Don Paver, a sixth-grade teacher at Columbia Elementary School, said the new system shows if a student has learned.

"An A, B or C has no meaning," Paver said. "Teachers were taking all the term's homework and tests and lumping it together. Now, we're showing if they know the concepts."

The assessments are based on standards outlined in the Utah Core Curriculum. The standards are made up of general statements, such as students should be able to write a coherent paragraph or children need to be able to add sets of numbers.

From general standards, there are criteria the student must meet to show they are achieving that goal. For instance, in younger grades, teachers might expect students to use proper punctuation and capitalization for the skills of writing a coherent paragraph.

Individual teachers decide what level students should be at when the school year starts and ends. Schools can also set criteria and standards for teachers to follow when grading.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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