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Windsor Locks considering changing school grading system

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WINDSOR LOCKS --  Windsor Locks Public Schools is embroiled in controversy over its grading systems.

After doing away with letter grades for some student several years ago, the district is taking heat from some parents who want letter grades brought back. Windsor Locks Public Schools students in the class of 2020 or later are graded under what’s known as a mastery based grading system.

The class of 2020 will be the first in the district to graduate without the traditional A-F grading system.

But not everyone is on board.

On Thursday, parents voiced their opinions to the board of education about it.

Bathzida Adorno is in favor of letter grades.

“We definitely prefer letter grades,”

Adorno said, “Kids have a little more guidance and they know where they’re standing.”

Her son, Windsor Locks Middle School 7th grader, Evan Courtney agrees.

“I prefer letter grades better," Courtney said. “I feel like it shows a wider variety and it shows who you are as a student more than 42 letter words.”

Under mastery-based grading, students receive grades 4-1, which represent how competent they are and how well they master certain concepts.

“LP, which is limited progress,” said Caden Mackey. “PS which is progressing the standard. MS which is mastering the standard. And ES which is exceeding the standard.”

Mackey, who is Evan’s schoolmate, worries the new system will diminish his chances of college acceptance.

“I, I want to go to MIT,” Mackey said. “But I don’t know if they’re going to except my grading system.”

“Just bring back traditional grading and move on,” said Brian Pham.

Parents like Gary Charette understand the concerns but he said A through F grading wasn’t preparing students for life after high school.

“Goal is to make these kids compete and exceed in what they’re doing for the global economy, Charette said.

“In a world when you can get all the answers you want from the Internet, children have to learn concepts in there and had it, how to convey that they know the concepts,” said Victoria Fortier. And that’s tough to do with a letter grade.”

The issue is causing so much controversy that Victoria Fortier’s husband is taking heat for an email obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

In it he calls some parents who prefer letter grades stupid.

“It was just a knee-jerk you know conversation to someone that he knew.” Fortier said.

It is also an example of how emotionally charged of an issue this is. The Board of Education has decided to form a task force in response to the controversy.

They hope to have it completely formed by June 30.

The board of education said the task force will be made of both students and parents.

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