There is no more A for effort at Prospect Hill Elementary School.
Parents have complained that since the new grading system is based on year-end expectations, 4s are generally not available until the final marking period.
In fact, there are no more A’s at all. Instead of letter grades in English or math, schoolchildren in this well-to-do Westchester suburb now get report cards filled with numbers indicating how they are faring on dozens of specific skills like “decoding strategies” and “number sense and operations.” The lowest mark, 1, indicates a student is not meeting New York State’s academic standards, while the top grade of 4 celebrates “meeting standards with distinction.”
They are called standards-based report cards, part of a new system flourishing around the country as the latest frontier in a 20-year push to establish rigorous academic standards and require state tests on the material.
Educators praise them for setting clear expectations, but many parents who chose to live in Pelham because of its well-regarded schools find them confusing or worse. Among their complaints are that since the new grades are based on year-end expectations, 4s are generally not available until the final marking period (school officials are planning to tweak this aspect next year).
“We’re running around the school saying ‘2 is cool,’ ” said Jennifer Lapey, a parent who grew up in Pelham, “but in my world, 2 out of 4 is not so cool.”
Much more on standards based report cards here.