AUSTIN EDITION col High marks for grading system

'Yes' and 'no' plan appropriate for early grades

A new grading system for Austin kindergartners and first-graders deserves good marks for common sense.

Austin Public Schools are implementing a grading plan that gives the youngest students "yes" and "no" grades for the basic skills they are expected to complete.

Kindergartners now must be able to write their first and last names; recognize shapes, colors, letters and consonant sounds; and write numbers up to 100.

As Curriculum Coordinator Jayne Gibson says, "They can either do it, or they can't."


This is obviously not a system that would work well with higher grades, but it makes sense for the early levels.

What makes even more sense is that Austin tested the system last school year before deciding to use it.

And to move the passing grade into the A+, the district unveiled the systems to parents and explained it them. At the beginning of each grading trimester, parents will be given a list of the skills on which their children will be tested.

Communicating is a skill every school district needs and it looks like Austin schools is on its way to earning a "yes."

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