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New Grading System Surfacing in Oregon

New Grading System Surfacing in Oregon

It’s a fairly well-accepted notion that a student should be graded by teachers based on their academic performance within the classroom. This is a basic precept followed at all educational levels from kindergarten up through the collegiate years.

Proficiency-only grading is one recent topic of some debate in teaching circles. In this type of grading style, students are judged solely on the content of the work they hand in to their teachers and not on a variety of other criteria, such as disciplinary issues or late papers.

In the state of Oregon, proficiency or academics-only grading has created a tumultuous whirlwind for many families of students who have received a lot of conflicting information on how they’ll be graded in the coming months. As this article published by OregonLive.com reports, recent proficiency-only grading legislation within the state has been overturned, mainly on the efforts of state congressman Peter Buckley, who fought for proficiency-only grading in the first place.

As Buckley is quoted in the above piece, the original bill passed in the state legislature was not meant to mandate academics-only testing for all schools. However, that is how the Oregon Department of Education interpreted their directive to implement the newly passed law.

What was originally intended by lawmakers will likely come to pass, that being the ability for school districts to adopt a much wider array of grading standards, including proficiency-only testing if they choose. Although Buckley wanted to support districts pursuing academics-only grading, he and other officials and experts interviewed for the above story agreed that for any new grading system to be effective, it must be a grassroots development and not forced on the district from high up in the bureaucracy.

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