My child received all As in the previous system, so should I expect him to receive all 4s in this new grading system?

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If your child received all A’s in the past you can most likely expect them to receive 3’s or 4’s in the new reporting system.  However, you may see some occasional 2’s in the gradebook along the way, especially when new concepts are being introduced and learned.  Learning in many instances is cumulative and understanding grows and develops.   As we align our grading practices, and at the same time implement more rigorous national standards, we may see that the obtainment of 4’s is more rare.  This is not an indication that your child has changed or is struggling, it is an indication of higher and more aligned standards across our system, state, and even nation. 

A four means that a student is significantly exceeding the standard.  Our goal for all learners is to earn the grade mark of 3, to show that they are meeting our challenging grade level standards and expectations.  In the new system, a 3 is to be celebrated!  Within this goal of all learners earning 3’s, we also need to continue to recognize individual student performance, goals and achievements.  For some students the goal of a 4 is the correct reach and the system should challenge and motivate them to demonstrate their understanding in ways to earn the score of 4, significantly exceeding the standard. 

It is difficult to compare letter grades with the number system because the marks stand for completely different things.  In a standards based system the score represents what is learned – where the student is in relation to the expectation or standard.  In a letter grade system the grade mark indicates how many points a student has accumulated, through assignments,  extra credit, participation, etc.  In that system, the goal of the student was to gather as many points as possible to get to an A.  Now we are looking at where student work is in relation to a standard (performance expectation), rather than an accumulation of points.