West Orange Board of Education Approves New Grading Profiles

Eveny de Mendez, assistant superintendent, and WOHS Principal Hayden Moore explain the new grading profiles for grades 9-12. Credits: Alan Grossman
Amber Newsome expresses concern that homework will only be 10 percent of the grade under the new grading profile system at the high school. Credits: Alan Grossman

WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange High School Principal Hayden Moore and Eveny de Mendez, assistant superintendent, presented a new grading profiles plan for the high school to the West Orange Board of Education (WOBOE) on Monday that has a goal of making grading more consistent and aligned better with the overall academic achievements of students and their true understanding of the subject matter.

Moore said that the new grading system is a “performance-based assessment” that puts a major emphasis on ensuring that students can recall the subject matter and understand it later in life, as well as apply the content in other settings.

With this in mind, the board approved this plan, which states that no less than 70 percent of a grade should be based on how a student worked toward achieving the expected academic standards. According to the plan, no more than 30 percent of the grade can be based on such things as independent work, small group work, warm-ups, quizzes, reviews and journal entries.

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Mendez said that the 70 percent of the grade focuses on “higher order thinking,” which includes essays, creating works of art and/or models, visual representations, oral presentations, lab experiences, research and field experiences.

She added that homework will only account for 10 percent of the grade because the district does not “want students to fail because of homework.” Mendez added,

“We want to think about homework as practice,” she said. “We want it to be quality homework—quality practice.”

Moore added that by implementing these grade profiles in September, “the students will have a framework for knowing exactly where their grades are coming from.”

“Having a consistent rubric for a grading profile is a big step forward,” said board member Mark Robertson said. “I hope the elementary and middle schools will follow suit.”

The next board of education meeting will be held on Sept. 18.

To read more about this meeting, where the presentation of the results of a demographic study determined that the student population in the township’s public schools will remain basically the same over the next five years, click HERE.

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