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‘A’ for effort: New grades at Conant

September 20. 2018 11:09PM

Some parents in the Jaffrey-Rindge School District are upset at a new grading system that separates effort and behavior from academic mastery.

The controversy underlines the difficulty in trying to innovate in public schools.

According to reports in the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, the new model in use this year at Jaffrey-Rindge Middle School and Conant High School separates work habits, such as effort, preparedness, and timeliness, from the student’s academic grade, which is solely based on mastery of the subject.

Principal Brett Blanchard argues that using student behavior as part of the academic grade can obscure whether the student learned anything. Blanchard says the new system provides a better gauge of whether students are proficient.

Some parents are upset that struggling students won’t get credit for hard work, or that lazy students won’t be held accountable for turning assignments in late. Some parents are just confused and want to know more about the new system.

Focusing on academic proficiency is a worthy goal. Parents ultimately get to decide the direction of the school through the school board members they elect. But we applaud Blanchard’s willingness to try to find a better way to teach.

We encourage all school districts to search for new and better methods. The best ideas can be adopted everywhere.


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