MUSTANG, Okla. (KFOR) – A school district’s new policy on grading is getting extra scrutiny from some parents. Parents with students in Mustang Schools told KFOR a new policy to heavily weigh test scores, opposed to homework, is not helping their student make the grade.
The Mustang Public School District changed their grading scale so tests and exams are worth the most for students’ overall grades.
To make the grade in Mustang Schools, daily work is now worth 20 percent of a student’s grade while tests and exams make up 80 percent.
One parent is alarmed and believes students who are not good test-takers are being set-up to fail. She told KFOR her son is struggling because of this change.
“The test grades are plummeting that grade even more… It’s a struggle,” said Angela Axtell, Mustang High School parent.
Angela Axtell told KFOR her son has ADHD and is on a school plan for students with disabilities.
However, she said none of his accommodations include any help for test taking.
She said before Mustang’s new grading policy went into effect, he averaged As, Bs, and Cs.
Now, he has three Ds, and only one A, which is gym class.
Angela says she’s prepared to take her son out of Mustang High School.
“He was doing great last year and this year with the work and things like that, as far as that goes, he doesn’t do well on tests,” said Axtell.
However, with this change, the school is requiring teachers to give at least a minimum of one test redo, no matter what grade the student receives.
“Regardless of the grade that they made, if they made a 89% on it, or if they failed it, they have the opportunity to retake that assessment with a qualifier,” said Dr. Kathy Knowles, Head Principal at Mustang High School. “They have to show that they’ve done something to learn the material. They’ve either gone in for tutoring with the teacher to get that retake option, or they have completed an assignment that they didn’t complete previously to be able to do that.”
But, Angela also worries that just passing a test does not mean students are absorbing the material.
“I know there are several other parents that feel the same way about this… They just have to pass the test. It’s like telling them they don’t have to work Monday through Thursday, but on Friday, when the boss wants something turned in, that’s when they do all of their work,” said Axtell.
To compare, Edmond Public School District told KFOR, “While we do not have a district-wide mandated weighting schedule, we do require teachers to have the same grading scale if they are teaching the same grade-level subject.”
Oklahoma City Public School District says homework is worth 10%, tests are worth 10%, and daily course work and projects are worth 80%.
“Grades don’t need to be used for motivation or rewards or punishment. Grades should reflect what a student knows and understands about a specific skill or standard,” said Dr. Knowles.
Mustang School District will be comparing grades from last quarter to this quarter to see the difference in grading policies.