Wichita Public Schools implementing new grading system

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Wichita Public Schools will have a new grading system for kindergarten through 5th grade students this year, using numbers instead of letters. 

The new grading system was tested out in elementary schools all across Wichita last year, but this school year is the first year it will become mandatory and it'll begin in secondary education next year. 

Washington Elementary students are joining kids all across the city, taking control of their own learning process. Leslie McEntire has been teaching at Washington elementary for seven years. 

"I love the new grading system," she said. "I think it makes it so much easier for students to really understand what they're being graded on and why they're being graded on that." 

The Standards-Referenced Grading technique is based off a number scale ranging from 0 to 4, instead of letter grades. Each student will learn at a pace more suitable for their needs based on the end-goal for the subject. For example, each student might not receive the same test based on how they learn and what they still need to know. 

"It's more positive for the students and lets them set specific goals for themselves that are very attainable and achievable," said McEntire. 

Each subject will have a target goal of knowledge that should be attained by the student before the end of the year. 

"We know that teachers are going to be teaching with more clarity and students will be more clear as to what they need to know and what they need to do," said Christina O'Toole, the Executive Director of Curriculum and Instructional Support for Wichita Public Schools. 

School leaders worked closely with a district in Iowa before trying out the system in some Wichita public classrooms last year. "We really find that when people are using a scale, and students have control of that learning and they know exactly what they're supposed to be doing, we go above and beyond," says O'Toole. 

McEntire hopes parents will be thrilled once they can shift their traditional mindset.

she said, "It is much more conducive to what their child needs and i think that they'll see that if they give it time and patience."  

If parents or the public are still confused, they can attend one of the four parents Q&A sessions this fall or call the hotline that will become available in October. 

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