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In one of our pilots with standards based reporting we asked parents how they felt about the standards based report card vs. a traditional one. Over all the results were very positive (over 90% in one study, >70% in another). one of the comments that caught our eye was a parent who wrote, "Not sure what term exemplary, etc. means in terms of where they should be and the rest of the class. I know what a 97 means." There were other comments like this as well:
Example 2: “Would still like to see a ## on grade (like 97,98) not just A, B, C, etc.”
Example 3: “We must see the number beside the letter. If we only receive the letter grade, we will be calling the school to get the numbers every nine weeks.”
This is not just parents teacher have these same questions. It stems from a flawed notion that high percantages mean high achievement or high expectations. This is compounded by the best, most accurate way to calculate a grade is by averaging a series of percentage grades together. It's not that averaging is a bad mathematical technique, but the idea that it makes grading objective is really bad. Ask your self, "what are all the ways a student oculd get an 82%?"