New responsibility standard sets high expectations for Kaneland students


Photo By Barbara Martinez

Junior Aeryn Hwang works on her AP U.S. history assignment. She worked hard in order to turn in the assignment by the end of the class period.

     Kaneland Community Unit School District 302 introduced a new responsibility standard to Kaneland High School at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, and students and staff have been expressing mixed thoughts. 

     The responsibility standard was intended for each teacher to assess each individual student’s readiness which is assessed every two weeks. This includes turning in assignments by their due dates, having the necessary class materials and demonstrating appropriate behavior during school time. 

     Teachers entered the first responsibility grade of this school year on Sept. 16 for students. So far, teachers haven’t had many issues with student behaviors. 

     “Up until now, it’s been pretty much just making sure kids aren’t on their phones when they should be working and checking to see if their work has been turned in,” social studies teacher James Fuller said. 

     With the addition of the new standard, staff members are generally hopeful for the impact the standard could have on the students of Kaneland. 

     “I think this was a really good idea, and the whole point of it was to ensure kids are turning in their formative work, which we didn’t have much control over last year,” Fuller added.

     While staff feedback has been hopeful, there has been some confusion among teachers about the inclusion of the standard regarding traditionally graded classes. Teachers that utilize traditional grading methods aren’t sure if or how they should include the new standard in their curriculum. 

     “With the way standards based grading has been rolled out at Kaneland, we have classes that are on a full standards based model and what we call a traditional model,” Principal Dr. James Horne said. 

     A traditional grading model assesses classwork on a 100-point scale, and this results in the letter grades A, B, C or D. The responsibility standard, however, is based on a 1, 2, 3 and 4 scale. 

     “When you’re doing a [traditional approach], traditional practices fall in line better for that. We are still ironing it out, and the ultimate goal is to increase the number of classes we have that are on the standards based model,” Horne explained. 

     As the staff adjusts to the new standard, a few students feel neutral towards it, especially students who are new to Kaneland.

     “I’m new to a school setting. I’m new to the district, so it’s more of a thing that’s just here to me because I’ve never been in this district or anything else,” said freshman Clara Saros, who had previously been homeschooled prior to this year.

     There has been some hope from the upperclassmen of Kaneland who have experienced their classmates’ struggle with deadlines.

     “I think it’s beneficial. For example, in college, for those who don’t have a good work ethic now, it’s going to be a harsh awakening for them when they end up failing because they don’t turn their assignments in on time,” junior Ansley Faivre said.

     Faivre is aware that colleges don’t typically grade on a standards based model, and incomplete work often results in a zero.

     “If you aren’t setting good habits for yourself now, it’ll be harder for you to do so in college,” Faivre said.

     Even though the standard is intended to promote good work habits, there is some concern among students who are involved in extracurricular activities.

     “If you can’t turn [work] in because you’re busy doing something like if you have a sport that night, there’s not much you can do about that. Otherwise, you would be staying up until 12 a.m.,” said freshman softball player Hadley Springer. 

     There is hope from students that this new standard could be an opportunity for teachers and students to communicate more efficiently as a result. 

     “I think it is helpful because it’s getting students and staff members to work together more versus teachers just giving assignments,” said freshman Lukas Zuttermeister. 

     With the first responsibility standard score being put in, students and staff are anticipating the impact the standard could have on this school year after this point. The next responsibility score is set to be entered on Friday, Sept. 30.  

     The responsibility standard guidelines can be found using the following link provided by Kaneland High School Administration: