Denton ISD considers radical grading changes



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Posted on April 23, 2014 at 6:19 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 24 at 10:36 AM

DENTON — At Tuesday night's meeting, the Denton Independent School District Board of Trustees heard — for the first time — a preliminary plan that could change the way it grades students.

The rules of school have been the same for decades: Show up, hand in your work on time, take your test, and (hopefully) graduate with a grade point average that shows what you know.

But Denton ISD may turn that on its head, with a change in grading strategy.

"They deserve more than just a number," said Board of Trustees president Charles Stafford.

The goal is to change grading so it better shows what students actually retain in grades 6 through 12.

Under the plan, grades would not be lowered for work that's turned in late... as long as it’s eventually done.

Teachers would not give zeros for missing work; it would just be "incomplete," with the expectation that students will get it finished.

And the proposal would also let students retake tests throughout the year, with the highest grade going into the records. This could only happen if the student asks for help, and another chance at the test.

So are these changes progressive, or could they lead to slacking off?

Some are worried the plan doesn't teach students the importance of meeting deadlines that can be critical later in life.

Tomasa Martinez has grandchildren in school at Denton ISD's McMath Middle School, and she’s not sure.

"You have to do what the teachers tell you to do," she said. "Have it on time, just like at home. You do your chores at home."

The district is still weighing its options, but the board president thinks this could reflect the future of Denton ISD.

"The point of all this is to take out the extraneous stuff and measure what they’ve learned," Stafford said.

The board said it will continue to review the proposal at future meetings. If adopted, it could be some time before students see any changes so that parents and teachers can become familiar with the new plan.

For a complete look at the proposal and an FAQ for parents, go here.