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January 16, 2017

Vague bureaucratic grading system hurting students, parents

The province should consider guidelines for grading systems for Alberta students that require the use of percentage grades for older students, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.

Calgary parents are growing increasingly frustrated by an overly broad grading system that assesses K-9 students on a 1 to 4 scale. This grading system is a reminder of Inspiring Education where teachers were relegated to facilitators, and the emphasis on student assessment moved away from PATs and PISA exams to ideas such as “evident,” “emerging” and “support required.”

Wildrose campaigned on developing a consistent provincial grading standard during the last election. Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said his party is committed to restoring accountability in the classroom.

“Any system that prevents parents from supporting their kids’ education needs is wrong for Alberta, and needs to be scrapped,” Jean said. “With confusion about assessment due to the curriculum rewrite and recent comments from the ATA – parents, teachers and school boards are left to meet student learning needs without clarity and support from the government, and vague grading systems just make the problem worse.”

Wildrose Shadow Education Minister Leela Aheer said the descriptors in the Calgary grading system are so broad they’re meaningless.

“As a parent, I know report cards should be a crystal clear indicator of how a student is performing and whether or not they need extra help,” Aheer said. “I can appreciate the frustration some Calgary parents are facing, and the Education Minister should take action to bring in more clarity and accountability as soon as possible.”