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Schools adopt new grading system for K-5

Less than a week into the  2012-13 school year, the Butler County School System is already talking grades.

While kindergartners across the county are learning their ABC’s and 123’s, their parents will have to get used to report cards that show numbers rather than letters, according to Tera Simmons, director of curriculum for Butler County Schools.

“We are pleased to announce that the Butler County schools are now using a standards-based report card for kindergarteners,” Simmons said. “This report card is an exciting step for our district as we work towards making sure all students are successful at meeting grade-level standards.”

Each student will be assessed at an individual rate by receiving a one, two or three in areas of math, science, physical education, social studies, social skills and language arts. A three is the equivalent of meeting expectations, which means the student is consistently meeting the required grade-level standards.

A two means the student is progressing toward standards, or the student is beginning to, and occasionally does, meet the required grade-level standard.

A one means that the student is below standards and the student is not meeting the required grade-level standard.

“First, (the report card) will ensure there is more consistency of expectations from teacher to teacher,” Simmons said. “Second, it will help teachers and students focus on the standards from the very beginning of the year, giving students a chance to get help sooner if they are not making adequate progress. Finally, parents will learn exactly how their children are doing based on the standards.”

At the end of each nine weeks, kindergartners will receive a report card showing whether or not each student is mastering the objectives based on Alabama Course of Study Standards.

“For example, the first nine weeks, the students should have mastered the following standards: count by ones to 25, classify objects into categories, and name and describe two-dimensional shapes,” Simmons said. “A letter grade really doesn’t tell parents what their children need additional help mastering. Standard-based report cards will outline the skills each student should master.”

Simmons said the school system might move toward implementing the same report cards for first graders for the 2013-14 school year.

“I believe the parents will prefer the standard-based report cards,” Simmons said.