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Making the Grade : New LAUSD Report Cards

Researched and written by SAM ENRIQUEZ / Los Angeles Times

No more grades for reading or writing-it is now known as “responding to text in oral and written form.”

Homework has become “home study assignment.” And the best marks may become easier to earn.

Those are some of the changes in the way elementary school students are graded in the Los Angeles Unified School District this year.

The new “progress report” will replace the old report cards and make grading more uniform for the district’s 419 elementary schools.

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Formerly, many teachers gave top grades only to students who could perform advanced work, such as the third-grader who could do fourth-grade arithmetic. Now, elementary school teachers must give their highest marks to students who have mastered subjects expected of their grade level.

Supporters of the change say it was not fair to expect students to be proficient in advanced subjects. But critics say the change does not properly recognize high-achieving students.

The changes, approved by the Los Angeles school board last spring, were recommended by a 28-member committee of parents, teachers and administrators after two years of study.

Shown is an example of the academic portion of the new report card for fourth-to sixth-graders. Students in grades one through three do not receive overall letter grades.Also included in the new card will be grades in 16 categories in the areas of learning and social skills and home studies.

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New Grades Old System O: Outstanding G: Good S: Satisfactory N: Needs Improvement New System S: Area of strength G: Shows growth N: Needs improvement

Language arts Eight categories replace traditional reading and writing

Math, science and social science New subcategories comply with state curriculum standards and more accurately show student’s progress

Why They Did It “We tried to make grading uniform across the district so that if a young person transfers, the grading process is consistent. An A should be an A no matter where in the district you live."-Alice Bowens, Mentor Teacher program coordinator “More than anything else, it is a road map for teachers, parents and administrators. It gives more details, shows areas of strength and areas that need improvement."-Ray Galvez, Bilingual coordinator, O’Melveny School, San Fernando

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Overall Mark Students in grades four to six sill receive A-F marks in overall subject Source: LAUSD


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