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New grading at Lexington One concerns parents

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

There is growing concern among parents with students in Lexington School District One over a brand new grading scale that they believe is an unfair assessment of students' achievement level.

The two parents we spoke with say this policy is failing their children. It's called "Grading for Learning." According to the district, this is an approach where the focus of grading should be mastering the material not behavior or work habits or extra credit.

Here's an excerpt from the policy: "Grades cannot be influenced by such things as whether or not the student did her homework, turned in assignments on time or demonstrated good behavior."

Students are allowed to re-take tests multiple times. Homework is not graded. There are quizzes, practice labs, first drafts, but they are also not graded.

The district says teachers can use that "practice" to give individualized feedback to students and to prepare them for the tests.

Grades are dependant on just a few major exams during each 9-week period.

Some parents say that puts their students and the teachers at a disadvantage.

"Those concepts are against what we try to teach our children, that we have to compete in this world to go to college and get scholarships and that sort of thing, and it's not teaching them to give their all every time; that you just get a re-do if you don't make it the first time," said Amy Cofield.

"I find that my children are actually more stressed under this policy. They don't have the benefit or the cushion of homework or quiz grades so their 9-week grades are hinged upon three test grades," Huntley Crouch.

But there are some supporters who say the goal is mastering the material -- regardless of how many times it takes to pass a test.

The district had a pilot program last year and this year it's being fully implemented in all the middle schools and several high schools. We should also point out a number of parents who support the new policy have contacted us via email tonight.  

In fact, one student who's a senior at River Bluff High School told us at first he was against the policy but now sees the benefits.

"This new system forces the students to take learning into their own hands. If students do not care, they can simply not try and fail. However, for students that do care, I truly believe it helps us learn the material instead of memorizing it for the test," said David Enzastiga.

There's a regularly scheduled board meeting tomorrow where parents say they plan to show up to speak out about the policy.

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