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Some Bay Area High Schools Want To Ditch A-To-F Grading System

SAN ANSELMO (KPIX 5) -- There is a growing consensus at some Bay Area private high schools that letter grades A through F are outdated. Instead they want to create transcripts with details about each student's achievements.

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"The grading system is pretty broken," says Kate Reeser, Director at San Domenico School in San Anselmo.

She and other administrators there are exploring a new school of thought when it comes to grading. They want to do away with the concept of letter grades entirely.

"It's about gaming the system, students no longer care about learning the information it's about getting the A," says her Cecily Stock who heads the school.

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San Domenico is one of more than 100 schools across the country participating in the mastery transcript consortium. It is a new teaching model that aims to evaluate how well a student has 'mastered' a concept. Rather than receiving a letter grade, students will be given a review from their teacher.

"Instead of a B it would look like more of a narrative," Says Reeser.

The Mastery Transcript Consortium website shows what a sample transcript for a graduating student would look like. A pie chart illustrates what skills the student has mastered, and below it are descriptions of their earned credits tailored to that individual.

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San Domenico is one of 14 Bay Area schools participating in this program. It has yet to be implemented, but once it is, students will be allowed to choose between traditional grades, or the mastery transcript model.

Administrators say they see this as the future of education across the board.

"This will not cause students to stop thriving," says Stock. "If anything it will make efforts feel more worthwhile and the assessments more authentic."

The new grade-less system is still in the very early stages. Administrators say the earliest a student would graduate from San Domenico with a transcript instead of a GPA is 7 years from now.

The consortium plans to reach out to colleges in an effort to make sure the new method for evaluating students passes muster with admission offices.

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