And, this is a high performing school system in Kentucky!
By any reasonable measure, the Walton-Verona Independent School District in Northern Kentucky has to be considered one of the states better performers.
In our new Bang for the Buck 2012 report, Walton-Verona’s 28 percent better than the average efficiency ranked seventh best in the state.
Walton Verona excelled on the ACT in 2012. It’s ACT Composite Score of 21.4 ranked in the number five position.
Walton-Verona is doing a whole lot better than average.
So, you will understand my surprise when I read “WV Schools add new grading standards” recently.
The article says that until this year, Walton-Verona’s grading process gave too much credit for “work ethic issues” like class participation and completing homework. But, this top school system didn’t put enough weight on whether or not students actually were learning material.
The inflated grades hid the fact that students were not grasping key subject content.
That led to serious consequences.
Walton-Verona graduates were walking in the college door with serious gaps in their academic preparation.
Similar grading errors plagued Kentucky Statewide. As a consequence, over 40 percent of Kentucky’s college freshmen lose their KEES scholarship money after their first year on campus.
You see, work ethic is important, but it isn’t nearly enough. It won’t substitute for significant deficiencies in academic content knowledge.
Walton-Verona, with a new state assessment system focused on college and career readiness breathing down its throat, has finally figured all of this out.
The new grading scheme at Walton-Verona now places the most weight in grading on academic performance. The work ethic issues still count a bit, but it’s a new day in Walton-Verona’s classrooms.
The amazing thing is that it took 22 years of KERA, and a change in the state’s assessment and accountability system, for this top school system to figure out that academic knowledge really matters. How long is it likely to take for schools to learn this elsewhere in the state? After all, as the article concludes:
“Ultimately the change comes down to making sure students are learning what they need to learn to succeed and not just getting good grades.”
“‘We can’t have kids who are B students who are scoring 12 on their ACT,’ said Superintendent Robert Storer.”
To that I can only say, finally, Amen!