CHESTERMERE, AB (February 28, 2014): The Wildrose Official Opposition continues to stand with the demands of students across Alberta for the right to fair and transparent grading. Yesterday, Wildrose Education Critic Bruce McAllister applauded the Battle River School Division for reversing its decision with regard to its high-school student assessment policy.
It appears the congratulations may have been premature. The administration of the Battle River School Division has clarified that motions passed this week direct the Superintendant to make recommendations by March 20, 2014, to address assessment concerns. Apparently, the Superintendant may or may not bring back a recommendation of eliminating the requirement of alpha grades at the high school level in favour of percentage grades. We have also been informed that the Battle River School Division does not consider the motion which instructs the Superintendant to “put a hold on advancement and further implantation” of their alpha grading system as “a reversal of policy.” Wildrose Education Critic Bruce McAllister expressed concern that the decision that parents and students applauded at yesterday’s board meeting was not as clear cut as those in attendance believed: “Like the high school students and parents of Battle River, I hope the Board will unequivocally move back to providing percentage grades. Furthermore, Albertans can count on Wildrose to continue to press the PC government to provide better direction on student assessment from the top,” McAllister said. “I’ll continue to stand with students against the misdirection of Alberta Education, which is placing school boards across Alberta in a very difficult and confusing situation.” Correction: In a Wildrose release yesterday, Wildrose stated that the Battle River School Division had reversed its “numeric grade system at the high school level and was returning to percentage grades in the high schools.” We were referring to the system whereby a student who received a mark between zero and 49 per cent would be at the ‘beginning’ level. A student who scored between 50 and 66 per cent would be at the ‘developing’ level, ‘achieving’ would be between 67 and 83 per cent and ‘excelling’ from 84 to 100 per cent. This system is called “alpha grades” by the Battle River School Division. The sentence should have read: “alpha grade system at the high school level.” We regret any confusion over the terminology.