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Merrimack Valley

January 10, 2013

NAMS to go back to traditional grades

(Continued)

The inconsistencies in grading, however, were apparent.

School Committee member Christine Allen said Hutchinson’s decision “was necessary.”

“You can’t ignore that many people who spoke passionately and articulately about their children,” she said. “They did exactly what I would have done.”

The reasons for changing to number grades were not well communicated, she said.

Thomas Holland, the father of an eighth-grader who was outspoken in his opposition to the new grading system, said Hutchinson “took the appropriate action.” He credited both the superintendent and the School Committee with being good listeners.

Holland also commended parents for expressing their concerns about the number grades in a responsible fashion. The decision to revert to traditional grades is “the right thing for the kids,” he said.

School Committee member Brian Gross said the board received “clear feedback” that the numerical grades were not working as well as expected. The new system was “not fully vetted,” he said.

Gross said education needs to be based on standards and raising the level of student achievement. Hutchinson and other committee members expressed similar views.

Gross’ colleague Stanley Limpert called the change back to traditional grades “probably the only right decision at this point.”

With the academic year just about half over, there probably is “not enough time to get it (numerical grading system) right,” he said.

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