“Many OPRFHS teachers are successfully exploring and implementing more equitable grading practices such as: utilizing aspects of competency-based grading, eliminating zeros from the grade book, and encouraging and rewarding growth over time”
Oak Park and River Forest High School in Illinois is implementing a new grading plan for the 2022-2023 school year that will take certain racial differences into account.
They’re not going to assign grades based on race, but they will stop penalizing certain students for tardiness, not turning in assignments, etc.
The West Cook News released this report, which the school disputed:
OPRF to implement race-based grading system in 2022-23 school year
Oak Park and River Forest High School administrators will require teachers next school year to adjust their classroom grading scales to account for the skin color or ethnicity of its students.
School board members discussed the plan called “Transformative Education Professional Development & Grading” at a meeting on May 26, presented by Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning Laurie Fiorenza.
In an effort to equalize test scores among racial groups, OPRF will order its teachers to exclude from their grading assessments variables it says disproportionally hurt the grades of black students. They can no longer be docked for missing class, misbehaving in school or failing to turn in their assignments, according to the plan.
“Traditional grading practices perpetuate inequities and intensify the opportunity gap,” reads a slide in the PowerPoint deck outlining its rationale and goals.
The school released this statement:
Statement regarding grading practices
It has come to the District’s attention that a recent article in the online West Cook News inaccurately states that at the Board of Education’s May 26 meeting, Oak Park and River Forest High School announced that it will implement a race-based grading system in the 2022-2023 school year. This is not true.
OPRFHS does not, nor has it ever had a plan to, grade any students differently based on race. The article contains a variety of misleading and inaccurate statements. The article’s mischaracterization of the Board meeting is unfortunate and has caused unnecessary confusion.
As part of the Board of Education’s strategic plan, the OPRFHS Grading and Assessment Committee was formed to examine national research on objective, unbiased practices for determining whether students have mastered academic content. At the Board of Education’s May 26 meeting, the administration’s representative to the OPRFHS Grading and Assessment Committee provided an initial report that included a progress update on the committee’s examination of grading practices.
At no time were any statements made recommending that OPRF implement a race-based grading approach.
Prior to implementing grading changes, if any, recommendations will be made to the Board at a public meeting. Again, contrary to the title of the article, the district has not implemented, and has no intention of implementing, any grading and assessment policy based on race.
The Defense of Freedom Institute has already filed a complaint about this:
Pursuant to the discrimination complaint resolution procedures of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”), DFI brings this federal civil rights complaint against Oak Park and River Forest School District 200 (“District 200”) in Oak Park, Illinois for discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VI”)1 and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. DFI files this complaint as an interested third-party organization that strongly supports constitutional and statutory prohibitions on school policies that are based on race-based stereotypes or that arise from adverse or preferential treatment based on race.
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