MCPS Board of Education meets to discuss issues in county

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MCPS has seen a sharp uptick in the amount of A's and B's in the years since final exams were eliminated and the new grading system was instituted. The percent of A's in math classes rose from 16% in 2014-15 to 32% in the 2017-18 school year.

Photo credit to Wikimedia Commons

MCPS has seen a sharp uptick in the amount of A's and B's in the years since final exams were eliminated and the new grading system was instituted. The percent of A's in math classes rose from 16% in 2014-15 to 32% in the 2017-18 school year.

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The two most recent MCPS Board of Education meetings addressed pressing topics that both the student body and parents have expressed concern over in recent months. Issues included: grade inflation under the new grading system, new curriculum and instructional materials, class size and boundary analysis.

Grade inflation:

Superintendent Jack R. Smith sent out an email to the MCPS community about the emerging trend of grade inflation on Monday, January 7. Smith acknowledged the problem, which is a positive first step, as many parents have been frustrated with a perceived lower standard MCPS has fostered since the new grading system was instituted.

“We take concerns about grade inflation seriously. When grade inflation takes place, it creates a false sense of success for some students and a false sense of failure for others,” Smith said.

Smith remained vague in how he plans to address the issue, which may cause dissatisfaction from some on his handling of grade inflation.

“There are dozens of grading systems in schools across the county and research shows none is perfect. What we do know is that grading must be centered on what is best to assess student learning. MCPS will continue to monitor the impact of our policies and practices to reflect this goal,” Smith said.

Expanded class sizes:

Issues of class size have become prevalent at WJ during the 2018-19 school year, with many students taking classes in the new portable classrooms. The Board of Education held a discussion on the topic during their latest meeting on January 8, where they specifically focused on the budgetary impacts larger class sizes have.  

“Now is an ideal time to complete a comprehensive analysis and review of how MCPS considers the allocation of resources specific to class size given the continuing regional recovery from the Great Recession of 2008 and the implications the financial crisis had on staffing and facilities in our district,” the Board of Education said in an email to the MCPS community.

Many WJ students believe that larger class sizes have had a negative impact on the experience at school, namely in portable classrooms.

“The worst are days when it’s raining or cold and I debate whether I should go to class or not,” junior Stephen Hairston said. “I think WJ has somewhat of an issue [with overcrowding], but I don’t like how they are trying to fix this problem with more portables to come.”

 

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