Local News

Numbers Replace Letter Grades In Wake Elementary Schools

Posted January 12, 2005 5:21 a.m. EST

— It's report card day for many Wake County Schools and at elementary schools the letter grades are now gone. Elementary schools now use numbers one through four instead.

Parents say it takes some getting used to.

"It's a big difference," said Robin Nelson, a parent. "Even though my child has a 4, that just shows how he's performing in the curriculum, it's not necessarily what type of student he is."

The numbers measure how well a student understands a subject. Attitude and effort are measured separately.

LeeAnn Segalla, who works with Wake County's curriculum, says the new grades are necessary because they mirror the scoring system of the state-wide End of Grade Tests.

"We're trying to use common language," Segalla said. "An 'A' meant lots of different things to different people."

So the switch means a lot of different questions from a lot of different people for PTA president Virginia Parker.

"Since we no longer have a relation to A, B, C, D, F, it may be difficult to know where is my child and how do I encourage them to do more," she said.

Parents like Nelson aren't sure yet if they'll like it or not.

"I haven't made my mind up yet," Nelson said. "There's going to be an adjustment period because it's so different than what we're used to."

The number system was piloted in 26 schools first. One big change associated with this is that there is no A-B honor roll. Instead there will be a student recognition ceremony instead.

Parents who have questions are encouraged to ask for teacher conferences. Other districts across the state are moving to numbers systems.

Here's how it all works: Four means a student understands the concept and can apply it on their own. Three with an asterisk means they can apply it on their own sometimes. Three means they get the concept. Two means they understand sometimes. One means they don't understand the concept at all.