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Four middle schools will test new grade system
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Forsyth County News
Two principals presented the Forsyth County school board on Thursday with what they hope will be the future of grading in local middle schools.

“We feel like what we have [now] is adequate, but we want to provide more,” said Connie Stovall of Liberty Middle.

Stovall was joined for the presentation by Jeff Hunt from North Forsyth Middle. Their middle schools are two of four, along with Lakeside and Otwell, that will try a new report card in August.

The new grading system does not change the way teachers grade, rather it offers parents more information.

The new system, the principals said, may also show if a teacher is not adhering well to the state’s curriculum or is inflating grades.

“We feel like our stakeholders need more, they want more, they ask for more,” Stovall said. “Our teachers need more and our kids need more and deserve more.”

The focus will be twofold.

First, grades will be separated into categories for academic performance and work habits, Hunt said.

“These are the things that employers are looking for,” he said. “They want an extremely well-educated work force, but they also want good interpersonal skills, good work habits, good participation.

“My child may be making a 95, but if she’s showing some bad interpersonal, some bad cooperative work habits, I’d still want to know that, and employers want to know that.”

Scores also will be split between formative and summative grades.

The formative grade will show student results during the learning process, while the summative grade will reflect the results after all the material has been taught.

Board member Mike Dudgeon said middle school is the best time to teach work habits. The new grading plan could also uncover students doing just the minimum.

The next step will be to create a professional development and communication plan. Principals will then collaborate with focus groups to refine work habits and definitions.

“It just is a great way to report and set good work ethics for kids at an early age,” said Ann Crow, board chair.