A petition with 100 signatures from parents urges Valley View School District 365U board officials not to switch to a new standards-based report card for fourth and fifth graders.
At Monday's school board meeting, Romeoville resident and parent Tammaro Warren, 33, submitted the petition to the board and said many parents don't like the new standards-based report card system.
"To me it seems like we are dumbing down the report card," Warren said. "We are asking the Valley View school district to maintain the letter grade report card system for the fourth and fifth grades."
Warren has four children, including a son who entered fourth grade this year.
Valley View officials told Warren that no final decision had been made. The district, however, implemented a new standards-based report card for kindergarten through third grade this year.
Rachel Kinder, assistant superintendent for educational services, said using a standards-based report card helps explain a student's academic progress.
"We feel strongly that standards-based grading provides more effective communication with our parents so we can better support our students with meeting and exceeding academic expectations," Kinder said.
The new K-3 report card is aligned with the new common core state standards that have been adopted by the district for mathematics and language arts. The new report card will not include the traditional A through F grading scale but will rate students as "initiating," "developing" or "secure" in a subject, according to a sample second grade report card.
The rating of "initiating" will indicate that a student is in the beginning stages of understanding the concepts and skills. The rating of "developing" will indicate that the student is appropriately developing and understanding subjects. Those students who receive a "secure" grade are demonstrating a firm grasp and mastery of the subject matter.
In mathematics, the new report card will allow teachers to grade in the sub-areas of addition, subtraction, multiplication and geometry, among other things. In language arts, teachers will grade in the sub-areas of phonics, word analysis skills, reading accuracy and expression of thoughts and feelings, to name a few.
At the close of the meeting, Warren told the board the standards-based report card might also make it difficult for students to get into college, adding that college admission personnel prefer reviewing the regular letter-grade system.
District Superintendent James Mitchem said that was not necessarily true and added that college admission policies were changing.
"The grades that we were distributing to kids were not an accurate reflection of what they know," Mitchem said. "College today is based on 100 percent of what you know and zero percent of what you do (and did)."