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Camrose students, parents continue to fight back against grading system

EDMONTON – Several students from the Battle River School Division (BRSD) say they don’t like the way they’re being graded and they want the system changed.

Dozens of students from Sedgwick High School voiced their concerns over Administration Procedure 360 (AP-360) to the school board Thursday morning.

“Hopefully they listened to us. I guess we’ll see in the next few weeks if we get responses back or if we see any changes in the system,” said Grade 12 student Brooklyn Mazure.

Under the assessment model, students are given a level of achievement- beginning, developing, achieving, or excelling- rather than a percentage.

Under AP-360, a student scoring between zero and 50 per cent would be at the ‘beginning’ level. A student who received a mark between 50 and 66 per cent would be at the ‘developing’ level, ‘achieving’ is between 67 and 83 per cent and ‘excelling’ from 84 to 100 per cent.

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Students say these categories don’t properly reflect their achievements and make it very difficult to apply for college or university.

“The converted percentages do not reflect where we stand in our grades. Every summary we get it just says excelling, achieving, developing or beginning. And we don’t really know where we are in our grades,” Brooklyn said. “I don’t know if those really reflect where we truly stand, but I guess that’s all we have.”

Many parents aren’t happy with the system either.

“It’s really vague,” said Brooklyn’s father, Richard Mazure. “My kid gets a 67, okay you’ve got a lot of work to do. If you get an 82, well you’re doing pretty good.”

Richard’s concern is that with both of those marks, a student would sit at the ‘achieving’ level.

“For them to tell me ‘achieving’ that doesn’t tell me much. Give me a percentage, give me some feedback.”

Board members say they take students’ concerns very seriously, but would not say whether or not changes would be made.

“This was implemented as an admin procedure from our Superintendency and they’re looking forward towards the way Inspiring Education is going in this province,” said BRSD Board Chair Kendall Severson. “As for now, the board is continuing to learn is where we’re at.”

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“We take their concerns very seriously. We share all the information we get with all the other board members and we’re trying to educate ourselves and try to help where we can,” added BRSD Trustee Laurie Skori.

This isn’t the first time the students have made their opposition to the grading system known. Last April, a group of students and parents marched through the streets of Camrose to the BRSD office to share their concerns, but their petition to AP-360 was overturned by the board.

READ MORE: Camrose parents, students voice concerns over new grading system

“Last time we made our presentation no one really got back to us. They said ‘thank you’ and that was pretty much it,” Brooklyn said.

Parents and students aren’t giving up, though. They say they want to see the system changed, or implemented across the province.

“Let’s do it province-wide or not do it,” Richard said. “If we’re going to do it, it’s Alberta Education, not Battle River School Division Education or Sedgwick School Division Education.”

“We feel like the minority in this province. We are all applying for Alberta universities and colleges and we are one of the only schools getting graded without percentages. We feel that it’s not fair,” Brooklyn added.

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The full administrative procedure can be viewed below:

AP360

With files from Shane Jones, Global News.