(The Center Square) – As the Arizona Department of Education continues to push for reforms away from its left-leaning past administration, non-traditional forms of grading in schools have come into the spotlight.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne is asking schools to scrap grading systems that start at 50% in the name of equity in various school districts throughout the state.
“In education today, we have a war between excellence and mediocrity. So-called ‘equitable,’ ‘compassionate,’ or ‘standards-based’ grading promotes mediocrity,” Horne said in a statement Monday.
“Test scores show that the students are not learning enough to properly compete in an internationally competitive economy. If we are to increase learning and show it in increased test scores, students must do homework and be graded objectively. The parents of the state are demanding this result,” the Republican official continued.
The statement said that the following districts use this grading style: Sunnyside USD, Agua Fria Union HSD, Deer Valley USD, Flagstaff USD, Laveen ESD, Liberty Arts Academy, Roosevelt ESD, Santa Cruz Valley USD, Amphitheater USD, Phoenix Union HSD.
Proponents of “equitable grading” argue that it’s intended to let more students who do not have great learning environments outside the classroom or other difficulties have a greater chance at having success in school, according to a recent report from NewsNation.
Since Horne took office in January, he’s provided a contrast from his Democratic predecessor, Kathy Hoffman. For example, Horne is encouraging school districts to ditch social-emotional learning for a program called The Six Pillars of Character, The Center Square reported in February. In addition, The Center Square reported that the education department renewed the state’s contract with Project Momentum Arizona, a program aimed at raising students’ grades in underperforming districts, when Gov. Katie Hobbs decided to put the program under review.