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Denton ISD Makes Dramatic Grading Changes

DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) - The Denton Independent School District is throwing traditional grading methods right out the window, shifting to a new way of assessing their students. The change is going to happen for kids from 6th to 12th grade beginning next year. Teachers will still be handing out letter grades, but the means of calculating those scores will be different than just about any other school district in North Texas.

Hand in your homework late? You won't get a zero.

Want a higher grade on a test? Just take it again.

Grades will no longer be reduced for failure to meet deadlines. Zeroes will not be used for missing work. Students will be able to retake all exams and use the higher score. The idea is to hand out grades that show what the kids actually know, not how well they behave.

"We are not dismissing the value of those behaviors," stated Vicki Christenson, director of secondary curriculum. "We're simply separating them out and saying grades have to be all about learning, and not about behaviors that we value. We have to find another way to help kids build those behaviors."

The curriculum department has worked on this plan for two years.

The idea started when a teacher noticed that the grades of his own kids did not always seem to be a good measure of what they knew and did not know. Kids with the best grades could be getting bonus points, while those with lower grades might actually know more than the grades reflect.

The school board said on Tuesday night that they expect some criticism. But they called this a courageous and brave move.

The district also polled teachers throughout last year and found that, in most cases, more than half of them are already comfortable with parts of this new approach.

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