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The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

Kaneland Board of Education votes 7-0 to “sunset” standards-based grading

Assistant+Principal+Nathan+Schroll+discusses+Kanelands+plan+to+continue+using+standards-based+grading+for+the+remainder+of+the+2023-2024+school+year.+The+Kaneland+Board+of+Education+has+decided+to+retire+standards-based+grading+after+the+school+year+ends.
Photo By Elliot Krippelz
Assistant Principal Nathan Schroll discusses Kaneland’s plan to continue using standards-based grading for the remainder of the 2023-2024 school year. The Kaneland Board of Education has decided to retire standards-based grading after the school year ends.

On Monday, Oct. 30, the Kaneland Board of Education voted 7-0 to “sunset” standards-based grading (SBG) at the end of the 2023-24 school year after Board Vice President Bob Mankivsky called the issue to vote. The board used the term “sunset” to reference retiring the use of SBG and gave school administrators for grades 6-12 until the end of the current school year to develop a plan for implementing a curriculum-based grading system.

District Director of Educational Services 6-12 Patrick Raleigh presented the board with an update on SBG at the Oct. 16 board meeting, which included survey results from parents and students on how they felt about SBG. There were no results from teachers, as they had not been recently surveyed. The voices of community members helped convey the public opinion of SBG to the board.

“Our role as the school board of education is to be representative of the community, and I believe the community has spoken,” Board President Addam Gonzales said. “I hear it at all levels: students, teachers [and] parents.”

Now that the public discourse has been heard and acted upon, Kaneland High School Principal James Horne believes the community will be pleased.

“The fact that the board has taken action tells me that the community wanted a change,” Horne said. “In response to the 7-0 vote, I think that the community is going to positively receive this.”

One of the reasons Mankivsky cited for stepping away from SBG was the increased workload it placed on teachers, which is something Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher Eric Baron agreed with.

“We’re converting, changing [and] recalculating grades more than we’re focusing on our students,” Baron said. 

The idea of SBG stemmed from proficiency-based learning, which focuses on giving students clear goals regarding what they need to learn. It breaks learning into objectives that students should focus on throughout the year, as opposed to the books or topics that curriculum-based instruction would revolve around. This allows students to focus on one ability at a time, making sure they have mastered it before moving on.

SBG at Kaneland was first introduced to the high school through the English department.

“[The English department was] the only one doing it. We did not have a one through four system. When we started, it was one through three,” English Department Chair Kimberly Reese said. “We had a logic chart to convert [students’] grades, and because we had control over that logic chart, we fine-tuned it so that it really matched what the grade would be.” 

Throughout the following years, the district moved to make SBG the universal grading system for grades 6-12. 

“[When we switched to SBG], it became a little more problematic,” Reese said. “That’s where a lot of different people interpret the scoring differently.”

Since then, the district has gone through multiple different versions of SBG. District administrators developed a grade conversion chart that assisted teachers with assigning letter grades based on results from the one through four scale, which has also fluctuated since its introduction.

“The program was thrown upon us with no real direction, and every year since its inception, it has been changed,” English teacher Lori Shroka said. 

Despite the evolving nature of Kaneland’s grading system, teachers have stayed focused on one goal: teaching.

“I’m going to continue to teach, and my students are going to continue to learn, regardless of what system we are under,” Reese said. 

There are some positive takeaways from SBG that teachers can still implement in their classrooms, such as different approaches to learning rather than a one-size-fits-all method.

“We as a district got better with our students’ learning targets and knowing what a student is supposed to be learning,” Baron said.

The board recognized that if people felt SBG was not working, it was time for a change.

“If you have a majority to almost a supermajority of individuals from staff, students and parents that… are struggling with this program, it’s never going to work,” board member Aaron McCauley said. 

With such a significant change to the grading policy, different people are going to have different reactions. Shroka believes that this change will be seen positively, though.

“I think that, by and large, people will be relieved. Anyone who has been in education will know that this is so much clearer for everyone,” Shroka said.

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Name: Carli Filek   Position: Social Media Executive    Graduation year: 2025   A few sentences about me: In my free time I enjoy spending time with my friends and family. I also love to write, learn new things, and meet new people, which is why I love journalism!   My favorite…   Movie: 10 Things I Hate About You Show: One Tree Hill Animal: Dog Hobby: Writing Book: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid Food: Tacos  Song: She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5 Band / Artist: Taylor Swift

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Name: Jasper Paulson   Position: Co-Copy Editor, Broadcast Executive, Ad and Business Design Executive   Graduation year: 2025   A few sentences about me: I might seem like I’m busy, but I always have time to talk about a good book. Other than journalism, I do marching band and dance nearly all year round. I’m looking forward to my senior year here and can’t wait to see what wonderful things the Krier is going to do while I’m still here!   My favorite…   Movie: Any of the Saw movies Show: Heartstopper Animal: Hyena Hobby: Reading! Book: False Prince by Jennifer E. Nielsen Food: Not a food, but Coca Cola Song: Tell Me that You’re Okay by NOAHFINNCE Band / Artist: NOAHFINNCE

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Audrey Walker, Co-Editor-in-Chief of Print and Ad and Business Executive
Name: Audrey Walker   Position: Co-Editor-in-Chief of Print and Ads & Business Executive   Graduation year: 2025   A few sentences about me: I love rewatching my favorite TV shows and movies, shopping for cute clothes, thrifting, hanging out with my friends, and playing with my dog. I’m excited to work on the Krier this year with my buddies!   My favorite…   Movie: 10 Things I Hate About You Show: Gilmore Girls or Sex and the City Animal: Dogs Hobby: Running Book: The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud Food: Chocolate Song: Lover, You Should’ve Come Over by Jeff Buckley Band / Artist: Lana Del Rey or TV Girl

Elliot Krippelz
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Name: Elliot Krippelz    Position: Design Executive and Photography Executive    Graduation year: 2024   A few sentences about me: I absolutely love design, even with or without journalism, I have such a passion for it and I would love to continue it as part of my career. I also really love music, I spend a majority of my free time making new playlists and finding new bands to listen to! I love traveling, I currently have my scuba diving license and actively explore aquatic life (to the best of my abilities and would love to also do something with that in the future).    My favorite…   Movie: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) Show: BoJack Horseman Sport: NONE! (I hate sports)  Animal: Truthfully any reptile, but leopard geckos are my favorite.  Book: None  Food: Sushi Song: Risk - Deftones, Karma Police - Radiohead Band / Artist: Deftones and Radiohead