Monday, May 23, 2016

"It works equally horribly for the student who wants to do better and the student who doesn't want to try too hard," said Dana Hunter of Doylestown, who sends two of her three children to Cold Spring Elementary. "I've had kids say: 'This is great. It doesn't matter how many I get wrong, I just get an M on everything.' "

As a lawyer, Dennis Weldon has to make sense of tortuous legal papers. But a year ago, the Plumstead Township resident opened a nine-page document that left him flummoxed. It was his child´s report card from Gayman Elementary School in the Central Bucks School District. Gone was the traditional A-B-C-D-F report from the teacher. Instead, parents were sent to their computers to click open a nine-page digital document with row after row of learning standards and success indicators for specific reading or math skills. Grades ranged from a high of E (exceeding standards), through M (meeting standards) and A (approaching standards), down to LP (limited progress).

Weldon said his wife, also a lawyer, struggled to comprehend the new "standards-based" report card, too. Another Central Bucks parent, a lawyer as well, told Weldon: "I don't even open it. . . . It's information overload."

...Spurred on by national guidelines set out in the Common Core State Standards for English language arts and math, scores of districts across Pennsylvania and New Jersey have moved in recent years to ditch the old-school report cards that graded students competitively against their classmates, based on tests and quizzes....