LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Clark County School District (CCSD) students will head back to the classroom on Monday. While many families are hoping to get back to a semblance of normalcy with in-person courses, there will be some changes, including to grades.
“This grade change takes behaviors completely out of the question,” Tam Lester, teacher at Del Sol Academy, told 8 News Now. “And it, arguably, at the detriment of the student.”
He’s preparing to use the new grading guidelines.
“There’s a lot of mixed thoughts,” Lester shared.
The new district-wide scale sets the lowest grade at 50%. Behaviors, such as attendance, participation and late or missing assignments, will not influence a grade.
During a back-to-school kickoff, Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara explained this will create equity across the district by having grades reflect knowledge instead of non-academic factors.
“Whether you are in Moapa, or Laughlin, or the core of Las Vegas, all children will have the ability to demonstrate,” the superintendent said.
However, Lester says this new policy takes tools that incentivize students away from teachers and does not instill accountability.
“What they will need is those learner-ready behaviors,” he said, “things like focus, things like participation, things like time management. Some of these policies are taking those away.”
The new guidelines were approved in early July. CCSD is currently training teachers on how to use the new grading scale ahead of the school year.
“It’s not going to happen overnight,” said Linda Cavazos, president of the Clark County School Board of Trustees. “It’s going to be something that students, parents and staff will acclimate to.”
Lester worries it may be too big of a shift too soon.
“I know the district wants to focus on intrinsic motivation, and that’s beautiful, but I think we also need training with that,” he said. “For the past history of education has focused on classroom management, not classroom motivation.”
Cavazos says eight schools currently use the new grading model and have had success. In the coming years, students will also be able to revise their work.