Plans for a controversial new grading and reporting system in Harford County Public Schools were sidelined by Superintendent Robert Tomback at a school board meeting held June 14, 2010 in Bel Air. Dr. Tomback said he would ask for a re-examination of the plan by his newly appointed Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment William A. Lawrence.
The grading and reporting proposal has drawn fire from teachers, parents and students since it was introduced two years ago. Objections have included a lack of alignment with curriculum, a rigid formula for calculating grades, and a low value assigned to homework.
More recently, C. Milton Wright student Caitlin Dooling presented the school board with 650 signatures on a petition of protest, at the same June 14 meeting where Superintendent Tomback later announced the plan would be reviewed.
The petition presented by Ms. Dooling urges the superintendent and the school board to reject the grading plan entirely or to make changes to certain aspects.
Specifically, the petition objects to the following components of the plan:
– The increase of weight of the final exam from 1/9 to 1/5 of the final grade
– The addition of the midterm exam grade to the second quarter grade
– The method of comprising grades: 50-60% tests, 30-40% quizzes and classwork, and 0-10% homework
– The use of the non-weighted grade to determine class rank
The use of non-weighted grading would eliminate the additional credit currently awarded for Advanced Placement classes, which Dooling said would result in multiple valedictorians at C. Milton Wright, without recognizing the students who took more challenging classes.
Kate Kidwell, student representative to the Harford County Board of Education told The Dagger that an opinion poll taken on the proposed grading and reporting plan had also garnered a unanimous ‘no’ vote, at a recent meeting of HCPS high school and middle school Student Government Association representatives.
Below is a copy of Ms. Dooling’s petition. Similar petitions have been circulated at other area high schools: