School District 54 looking at value of letter grades

Feb. 4 education forum to discuss the way school district communicates with parents

There will be an education forum next week hosted by School District 54 to discuss changing the way they communicate with parents and students.

Part of the conversation will centre on moving away from letter grades on elementary report cards, said SD 54 board trustee Frank Farrell.

“It’s just a discussion right now,” he said. “Is there a better way of doing it? Are grades working for every student?”

Schools across the country have recently been looking at the way students are marked, especially younger learners. Last year, the Calgary Board of Education decided to eliminate letter grades for students up to Grade 9 and school boards in Vancouver only provide comments on report cards for students up to Grade 3.

SD 54 superintendant Chris van der Mark said it’s very important as many parents, students and teachers as possible come out to the forum to find a solution that works best for everyone.

“It’s really about how we communicate student learning,” said van der Mark. “What is the most effective way to communicate student learning to parents and to students? Is everyone really happy with how we’ve been doing it and should we explore other options?

“In talking to our educators and in terms of what I know, there’s probably a strong educational argument to have a good look at it.”

The education forum is Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. in the Walnut Park Training Centre. It’s open to parents, students and members of the public.