A new grading policy has been introduced in Clark County, Nevada, which contains Las Vegas and is the 11th most populous county in the U.S.
The new policy puts the lowest grade a student could possibly achieve at 50%, meaning students will never get less than half credit on an assignment. Should a student in grades 1-5 score below 50%, they will receive a “W” to indicate they are “working on standards below grade level.” Students grade 6-12 can also receive a “P” for “Passing (to be used for specific courses designated by the Academic Unit.)”
The new policy also states that “Grades shall not be influenced by behavior or other nonacademic measures (e.g., late or missing assignments, attendance, participation, responsibility).”
After a backlash to the new grading policy, Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara defended the policy, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Jara said the policy promoted equity, the latest buzzword of progressives to use instead of equality, since equity refers to outcomes instead of opportunities.
“Over the summer, the school board voted to change the district’s grading policy. It will allow students to revise assignments and retake tests, and will eliminate some behavioral factors like attendance and participation from grades,” the Review-Journal reported. “But some have opposed the changes, saying they lower standards for students.”
Jara stood firm, insisting the new policy doesn’t lower standards.
“It is not about lowering the standards,” Jara said. “Again, [it’s] holding children accountable to demonstrate what they know.”
Jara also told the outlet that the new grading policy doesn’t go into effect next week when school starts again, but will be implemented in the near future.
KLAS reported that some have spoken out against the new policy, saying it will lower standards and ultimately harm students.
“This grade change takes behaviors completely out of the question,” Tam Lester, teacher at Del Sol Academy, told the outlet. “And it, arguably, at the detriment of the student.”
What they will need is those learner-ready behaviors,” Lester said, adding, “things like focus, things like participation, things like time management. Some of these policies are taking those away.”
Linda Cavazos, president of the Clark County School Board of Trustees, echoed Jara’s statement, saying the new policy wouldn’t “happen overnight” and was “going to be something that students, parents and staff will acclimate to.”
Cavazos told the outlet that eight schools have already started using the new grading model and that in the next few years, students will be allowed to revise their work for a better grade.
Lester, however, said the new policy may still be implemented too quickly.
“I know the district wants to focus on intrinsic motivation, and that’s beautiful, but I think we also need training with that,” he said, according to KLAS. “For the past history of education has focused on classroom management, not classroom motivation.”