Rural school district eliminates letter grades in hopes of closing educational gaps

U.S. & World

A rural school district in North Dakota has ditched the traditional A through F grading scale in hopes a new system will better prepare students for the future.

Dr. Corey Steiner, superintendent of Northern Cass Public Schools, calls it “personalized learning.” Students won’t receive letter grades like an A or C on assignments. Instead, they’ll receive a number on a scale of 1 to 4. If a student receives a number 3, that means they are proficient and can move on to the next lesson.

“We want it to be a reflection of what a learner does or does not know,” Dr. Steiner told WDAY.

Dr. Steiner thinks the new grading scale will close educational gaps because students will be able to move at their own pace, whether they’re ahead of the curve or going a little slower. The new system eliminates traditional grade levels also.

Student Timothy Myer was part of the “Jaguar Program” last year as the school’s first attempt at personalized learning.

“I really like it that you can work at your own pace,” Myer told WDAY. “So I’m almost already done with my 9th-grade year.”

However, graduation rates could be affected for other students who don’t work ahead. Still, Dr. Steiner says this change is much needed in today’s educational system.

“The system needs to respect the learners better than we have in the past,” he said.

The school district is working with universities to make sure the new system won’t affect the college admissions process and students will still have a grade point average calculated from proficiency scores to put on their college applications.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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