One of the largest issues we have faced as an elementary school this year is the inconsistency in the grading policies among grade levels. It has caused many concerned parents to visit my office. Policy 3040 in Chesterfield County Public Schools Policy Manual addresses the issue of Grading Students’ Work. The policy only states that there should be common grading practices, but there is no substance behind this language. There is nothing concrete that spells out to the individual 62 schools how to formulate a consistent school policy. This type of policy is regulatory, thus the best way to proceed as a school has been to form a committee to discuss the issue. We have begun to talk about the specifics of what a grading policy looks like. Our committee has tackled how many assignments should be collected and graded in a nine week period, whether or not to allow zeros for missing work, and how to weight grades. We will begin to talk to the other staff members and parents to get their opinions on the policy and increase buy-in. As a staff we will hold many open meetings and will attend the movie “Race to Nowhere” before finalizing any official draft policy. As the leader, I have learned it is important to identify your key players and the side they are on with the policy. I know that it will take a while to come to consensus on the policy. Once the policy is in place I can not relax. It will be important for me to continue to educate staff and parents on the expectations of the new policy.
It was recently revealed that the county has also recognized the need for a more stringent and detailed policy revision for Policy 3040. A committee has been formed at the county level with representation of all stakeholders including parents to discuss the same issue. The revised policy is projected to be implemented in the fall of 2013. It appears that the county has also seen the importance of having a consistent policy for all schools that can be considered a mandate. With the design of this mandate, consequences can be tied to teachers or administrators that do not enforce the revised policy.
I am very interested to see what the committee develops both at our school and at the county level that will represent what we value and what will be willing to enforced.