- Associated Press - Saturday, June 4, 2016

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. (AP) - A suburban Chicago school district’s decision to start getting rid of letter grades on report cards this school year has prompted criticism from some parents.

The effort by Downers Grove Grade School District 58 began with science in seventh and eighth grades and math in kindergarten through sixth grade. Instead of letter grades, the district distributed progress guides describing whether certain academic standards had been met in those subjects.

Negative feedback from a parent survey has the district considering changes that include reinstating letter grades for some grade levels by the 2017-18 school year, the Chicago Tribune (https://trib.in/24lUtCh ) reported.

Letter grades are likely to return for middle school students, but a final decision hasn’t been made.

“It is a work in progress, obviously,” said Jayne Yudzentis, a district assistant superintendent working on the report cards.

Letter grades aren’t used in kindergarten-through-fifth-grade schools in Vernon Hills’ Hawthorn District 73, which instead uses a numerical 1-through-4 system to indicate how children are meeting grade-level academic standards.

Lisa Cerauli, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction at Hawthorn, said that in middle school, a numerical system is used along with letter grades. She said that combination was the result of input from parent focus groups.

Deerfield Public School District 109 also does not have letter grades for its K-5 schools. It expected to stop using letter grades next school year for middle school. But there was negative parent response.

“We decided we would keep the letter grades for now,” said Jeff Zoul, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning.


Information from: Chicago Tribune, https://www.chicagotribune.com

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