4-point grading scale approved

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By Sam Wall

The Salem School Board approved the motion to expand the standard-based learning four-point grading scale pilot program at Salem High School for the 2014-15 school year during its Tuesday night meeting.

The grading rubric, which is similar to the one already used by Salem’s elementary schools, will be used by 11 teachers at SHS with the hope that the new scale will help students focus more on achieving an overall grasp on the learning material as opposed to being concerned solely with earning a certain grade.

The numbers will be represent the following assessments:
• 4-outstanding: The student demonstrates mastery of both basic and advanced content.
• 3- proficient: The student demonstrates mastery of basic course concepts but lacks consistent mastery of advanced content.
• 2 – developing: The student demonstrates inconsistent mastery of the basic course content and limited mastery of the advanced content.
• 1 – emergent: The student is beginning to develop basic skills.

There is a conversion chart to assist students and parents with interpreting grades based on the four-point rubric: A: 3.51 – 4.0, B: 2.51 – 3.50, C: 1.51 – 2.50, D: 1.00 – 1.50 and anything under a one is considered to be an F.

Tuesday’s meeting also covered the spring SOL results for East Salem Elementary and Andrew Lewis Middle School.
East Salem saw its biggest overall improvements in math; all grades tested (third-fifth) had at least an 86 percent pass rate.

Reading also improved across the board with third grade scores making the biggest jump of an 80 percent pass rate in 2013-14 to a 92 percent pass rate in 2014-15. Fifth grade history scores were also at 92 percent pass rate. The only falling score was the fifth grade science SOL, which went from an 86 percent pass rate in 2013-14 to a 77 percent pass rate in 2014-15.

Like East Salem, Andrew Lewis’ most impressive SOL scores came in math. All three grades jumped at least seven points from their 2013-14 scores and were all at 80 percent pass rates or above. The geometry and algebra test results we nothing short of amazing. The pass rates were at 100 percent for both sections, which was the third year in a row that geometry has earned perfect results.

Reading, science and civics, all improved from the previous year. ALMS Principal, Dr. Forest Jones, credited the improvements to his staff’s willingness to adapt to students individual needs, and the changing of the school’s remediation to during the school day as apposed to before and after school.

G.W. Carver teacher, Carolyn Pillis, as well as many others, were recognized by the board for their contributions to the breakfast program that was launched for kids attending summer school for the 2014-15 academic year. Pillis came up with the idea in the spring, and with the help of the Salem Area Ecumenical Ministries, churches from the area, and local businesses that provided much of the food for the program, the division was able to make sure that those students who attended summer school were all well fed.

The next meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 7p.m.