Proposal spells big changes to report cards in Central Bucks

NEW BRITAIN, Pa. - January 14, 2014

Rather than giving students A's or B's, the new report cards will be a complete breakdown of the student's progress over the course of the semester. The change will effect students in kindergarten through 6th grade.

And while the school district is certainly not the first to move away from the traditional A through F grading system, some parents are concerned if the change will actually help students.

Dr. Amanda Mumford, principal of Pine Run Elementary School in New Britain, says the change could be compared to a boss delivering a full performance review as opposed to a simple pat on the back.

Dr. Mumford tells us, "If your boss sits down and says, 'Here are your strengths. This is where you've succeeded. These are the areas you need to continue to work in, and this is the goal we're setting and how to get there.'"

Dr. Mumford says the traditional grading system is more appropriate for older students. But for elementary school children she says getting a poor grade, or even a failing grade for example, is kind of like being scolded and not understanding why.

"Letter grades are a combination of work habits and knowledge and skills," Dr. Mumford explains. "And when you meld those two together they become very vague."

Many of the Central Bucks parents Action News spoke with say they think it's a concept whose time has come.

"I think it's a great idea. I think they should stop putting so much emphasis on a letter grade, and they should really focus on teaching the kids," said Central Bucks parent Josh Williams.

Jennifer Cunnane of New Britain says, "It gives the teachers, I think, more of an opportunity, and the parents, to see more specifically what the kids are doing overall."

But there are others who say there's nothing wrong with letting a youngster know they might flunk if they don't hunker down.

Doylestown resident Dot Kane tells us, "Give me a break. It's ridiculous. You know? You work and you strive for your grade, and be pleased with how you do. Be motivated to do your best."

The proposal is not official yet. The board is expected to vote on this over the next few months. However, it is fully expected to pass and go into effect this coming September.

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