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DOE looking into new way to evaluate student learning

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While students are gearing up for Spring Break, the work is just beginning for teachers from Guam's public schools who have been attending a standards-based grading training all week.

DOE deputy superintendent Rob Malay said, "Personnel from the Robert Marzano Laboratory are on island right now and they're doing some training for our school personnel. On Monday and Tuesday they focused on our elementary schools and on Thursday Friday they'll be focusing on our secondary schools." These specialists will be assisting DOE with assessing methods to implement a new form of grading. The new grading system would evaluate individual skills rather than assigning a numeric grade, which merely lumps all the skills together. This would provide a more in depth analysis of student strengths and weaknesses.

"Let's say two students had two identical grades for math - one student might be strong in multiplication and the other might be strong in fractions, when you break it down by standards you're able to see exactly where the strengths and where the areas of growth are," he added.

He said this information would be valuable to both teachers and parents alike, and that DOE does have intentions of implementing the new grading system on a small scale. "We have additional training coming up in April and one again in May and then based on those trainings we'll have to measure how ready we are to implement it, not across the board but in some schools so that we can see the effectiveness," Malay said.

He said a small scale implementation would allow DOE to assess the effectiveness of the grading system before potentially implementing it on a larger scale.

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