Changes in Fallsburg Grading, 2018–19

The Fallsburg Central School District will be making slight changes to its report-card grading protocols in 2018–19. These changes are being made to reduce the range of failing grades, provide more accurate information on student achievement, and improve grading consistency. These changes are:

    • At Fallsburg Jr.-Sr. High School, in all courses (excluding pass/fail), the minimum course average that students can receive in a quarterly report card--i.e., every 10 weeks--is 50.
    • At Benjamin Cosor Elementary School, in all grades, students will be graded on a 1–4 scale in all subject areas on their report cards.

Please note that these changes are limited to only the ways in which student report card grades are determined.

Changes at Fallsburg Jr.-Sr. High School

Under the previous model, marking period quarterly grades were reported on a 0–100 scale, with 65 as a passing grade. In 2018–19, no Fallsburg JSHS student will receive a 10-week quarterly average lower than a 50. This change will reduce the range of failing grades from 0–64 to 50–64, and increase opportunities for students to persist in improving their learning later in the school year.

For example, it was previously possible for students to receive the following averages in a course:

1st Quarter Average: 50

2nd Quarter Average: 40

3rd Quarter Average: 45

This meant that if this student were to pass the course with an average of 65, he/she would need a 4th quarter average and a final exam score of 95 or better.

With this rule change, a similar student’s scores would read as follows:

1st Quarter Average: 50

2nd Quarter Average: 50

3rd Quarter Average: 50

This student would then need average scores of 88 or better in the 4th quarter and on the final exam. This might inspire students to persist later in the school year to work towards passing a course, rather than being discouraged because it became mathematically improbable that he/she would pass.

Rick Wormelli on the 0–100 scale:

Changes at Benjamin Cosor Elementary School

The changes at BCES pertain primarily to student report cards in grades 4–6. In these grades, students will no longer receive content-area grades on a 0–100 scale but, rather, on a 1–4 scale. This change is being made so that content-area grades more accurately reflect student progress on being proficient on the standards, rather than an individual teacher’s unique formula to calculating a 0–100 average. The new method would be as follows:

    1. English Language Arts and Mathematics
      1. Each skill listed under ELA and math are rated holistically by the teacher based on the following scale:

Please note that a rating of “0” will not be calculated in the student’s grade-point average.

    1. The overall grade for ELA and math are determined based on the average, rounded to the tenth, of the skills’ scores in each respective subject area.

For example:

    1. Science and Social Studies
      1. These subjects are rated holistically by the teacher based on the following scale:
    1. Specials
      1. Each specials subject (i.e., art, computers, library, music, and physical education) is rated holistically by the teacher based on the following scale:
    1. An overall “specials” grade is determined based on the average, rounded to the tenth, of the ratings in the specials classes

For example:

    1. Overall Grade-Point Average
      1. In grades 4–6, a student’s overall GPA will be calculated. This will be an average of the subject-area averages in ELA, math, science, social studies, and specials.

We will continue to recognize student achievement through the honor roll and superintendent’s honor roll. The BCES administration has revised the cut points to reflect the 1–4 scale:

    • Grade-point average (GPA) for honor roll: 3.0–3.5
    • Grade-point average (GPA) for superintendent’s honor roll: 3.6–4.0

The district is also making these changes--in both schools--while it considers a transition to a 0–4 grading scale. This scale would be similar to college-grading systems (an A as a 4.0 and a D as a 1.0), and is supported by current best practices in the field. Researchers on grading practices--particularly Thomas Guskey and Douglas Reeves--believe the 0–4 scale is more equitable, and allows student growth--over the course of a year--to be better accounted for.

A 0–4 scale would also improve consistency across teachers. Presently, individual teachers use their own formulas to determine student averages. If teachers were to, instead, report on a 0–4 scale, most teachers would have general agreement on the qualities of student work that reflected a 1, 2, 3, or 4. A score of zero would indicate no work submitted, in this instance.

Fore more information on grading practice research, please review the work of the following:

Myron Dueck

Thomas Guskey

Douglas Reeves

Rick Wormelli