Reader Reply

School Administrator, April 2017

Steven Webb’s “A Measured Approach to Measuring Students” (January 2017) is one of the best education articles I have ever read. He describes his approach as a “more balanced accountability framework that attends to multiple measures of student and school district success.”

The system his schools in Vancouver, Wash., have adopted is certainly a more accurate and intelligent method to measure effectiveness than the idiotic use of letter grades developed by Florida and copied by Utah and several other states. No single measure is sufficient to measure success in education.

Thank you, Steven Webb!

M. Donald Thomas
Public Education Support Group,
Salt Lake City, Utah

Standards-Based Grading
I appreciated the advice in Matt Townsley’s article (“Three Lessons for Schools Shifting Their Grading,” January 2017) with advice for school districts that want to adopt standards-based grading practices. I was especially interested in the higher education lesson he references and have contacted the author for more detailed information. Can there be a more in-depth follow up to his piece? 

Parent and teacher worries about the effects on college transcripts and admissions are a major hurdle that tends to close down our discussions, especially at the high school level where our grading practices are antiquated and somewhat entrenched in the traditional model.

In particular, I’m eager to know what specific colleges and universities have said in response to moves by the Solon district and other schools into standards-based grading. Is there a list of colleges that are open to this idea and that have accepted students with standards-based transcripts? How have those students done compared to others? Can we see some examples of what those transcripts look like along with other essential accompanying documentation (personal identifiers redacted)?

Also, could School Administrator do a series of interviews with some of the more selective colleges’ and universities’ admissions officers on this topic? That would be very helpful.

Alexander Wyeth
Assistant Superintendent,
Norwood Public Schools,
Norwood, Mass.

Micro-Credentialing Interest
Patricia Deklotz’s article (“The Energizing Impact of Micro-Credentials in Kettle Moraine,” November 2016) about supplementing teacher salaries after completing micro-credentials happened to be a timely read. I have been pondering ways to enhance teacher pay while dealing with stagnant budget revenues and no guarantee that increasing pay will result in academic benefits.

Our school board also has been interested in increasing teacher salaries to retain teachers but is concerned with cost commitment during uncertain budgetary times. The idea being carried out in Deklotz’s district may be an ideal way to address teachers’ salaries while feeling confident district goals are being met.

Last year, our district began a one-to-one iPad Pro initiative in grades 7-12. We also have a strong Chromebook and iPad initiative in grades K-6. Teachers have learned ways to incorporate these devices into their lessons.

Many tech-related micro-credentials would be available to teachers, along with certifications from Apple and Google. I would love for our district to provide all teachers with both intrinsic and financial incentives to use these technologies in their classrooms. Micro-credentialing could be a route for that.

I shared Deklotz’s article with our Personnel Solutions Committee to consider how this might look in our district.

Lee Smith
Horatio Public Schools,
Horatio, Ark.

Letters should be addressed to: Editor, School Administrator, 1615 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314. E-mail: