WDMCS Board Cautions Slow Approach to Changing Grading Practices

During a recent special meeting, members of the West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) Board of Education cautioned district administrators to move slowly and involve parents in any effort to change the district’s current grading practices.

Book CoverThe school board held the second of two workshop sessions on February 29 to study grading practices. Board members read “Rethinking Grading” by Dr. Cathy Vatterott, which examines traditional grading practices and presents effective methods for standards-based learning and assessment.

“Parents need to be a huge part of it from the beginning,” said School Board Member Tali Greenspon, noting the opposition other districts faced when trying to change practices. Her comment was echoed by several other Board members, who suggested that the district establish a task force to study the topic.  

According to a survey of other area school districts, Des Moines, Waukee, Ankeny, Dallas Center-Grimes, and Van Meter are implementing standards-based grading at some level, while Johnston and Urbandale have started conversations.

The administration will review the district’s plan to study research-based best practices in effective grading and report back to the School Board at a later date.