Letter to Students: Advocate of SBG

Carson Lisowe, Guest Writer

Dear Students:

A common misconception of students is that standards based grading will be the end of the world. Well, I am telling you that it is not. Trust me, I was in the same boat as you for a while, and up until recently I thought the same thing too. But, now I know that is false. In a book written by, Thomas Guskey and Jane Bailey they state,” …standards-based report card breaks down each subject area or course into specific elements of learning.” Because of this, the report cards will show more specific targets of learning. Also, Standards based grading has been talked about for years. Teachers have been collecting data, and working to see if maybe this new idea of standards based grading is an option. They have only just recently told the public and students about their new idea to change to this new system, and it was a near miss. Because of the bad delivery at Neenah High School, it has made the system look terrible, and like the end of the world. But if we take a step back, we can see that this new system really is not going to hurt us, but help us. This is why standards based grading should be implemented in Neenah High School; it is a more accurate scale, and it lets students learn at their own pace.

Now some say that this is the worst choice NJSD has ever made, and that the new grading system will bring down their grade. This is not true because, this is not going to change the difficulty. It will just make it so that their will be less inbetween. So in some cases this will even help students’ grades. All this is going to do is make the grade more accurate.  In an interview, Mr. Buboltz,vice-principal at the Neenah High School, stated that the research done by teachers shows that a student with a 83 percent really is just as smart as a student with a 87 percent. This research shows that this difference in percent is not substantial enough to differentiate what they know so all standards based grading is going to do is take those gaps in grades and close them making them into one grade. Later in the interview, Mr. Buboltz stated that,” the 100 point scale actually has proven to be less valid than a three point scale or a four point scale or a five point scale”. This reinforces the point that the old system was flawed and really the three, four or five point scale is much more accurate. He also tells us that we may not be using the three point scale as everyone says, and we might be going to a four or five point scale, but that is still to be determined. The new system being more accurate, is just one of the many reasons why we need to have this in our school.

The next reason why we should be changing to this new system is because it lets students learn at their own pace. For example, Mr. Buboltz makes the analogy about a basketball game, and he says that he will not put someone in the game if they can not do it in the practice. The same applies for learning in the classroom. This new system will not make students take the test knowing only a little bit of the material. Now we will be able to practice as much as we need to be ready for the test. Earlier in the interview, he says that the entire system is really all based around feedback. This is great news for students because now if you do not understand something then you can just keep working on it and get feedback on it. This is going to help greatly, because now we are not going to just keep trucking on like before, but we can now wait until we fully understand it. This will also be good because if this topic is on a final or on an ACT then we will fully understand it, and not just see it on the ACT and be stuck. Because this system lets you learn at your own pace is yet another reason why we should implement standards based grading in Neenah High school.

Ultimately, Neenah High School is adopting this system, because it is more accurate, and it is going to allow students to learn at their own pace. Neenah High School students need to go with the flow, and just be okay with the fact that we are going to be adopting standards based grading. Most students have truly blown this new system way out of proportion. So really this is not the end, but the beginning.



Carson Lisowe, freshman