We, as a body of professional educators, are not opposed to Standards-Based Education/Grading (SBG) and feel that it has the potential to be a very positive way forward for the Bermuda Public School System. We are, however, left deeply frustrated by how poorly it has been implemented.
Since it was first introduced in 2015, we have received very little training and were left completely unprepared for its supposed hard launch in September of 2018.
This failing was finally acknowledged in a direct address by the Department of Education through the Commissioner in January of this year. The Department admitted there had been “insufficient support, training and communication.”
Despite this, we have still been required to enter grades into an inadequate and problematic online grading system known as Power School which has not been properly formatted to address our system needs and loosely reflects an SBG format.
Systemwide training for use in this program has never officially taken place, with training instead occurring at the individual school level based on the initiative of principals. This has left teachers across the system with various levels of competence in the use of the program.
This is compounded by the fact that, even though it goes against best practices, we as a body of professionals are being required to convert all grades into a 0-4 scale resembling the grades that will eventually be used when SBG is fully implemented. In short, it is our belief that these grades are ‘fake’ SBG and will cause confusion about student performance.
We as education professionals feel that our lack of training in the correct use of Power School and this flawed conversion chart make a mockery of SBG and diminish the integrity of the grading process, which will only serve to confuse parents and agitate teachers.
We feel that we have been coerced into entering grades that are inaccurate and misleading. Due to the threat of disciplinary action, we have entered these grades under duress. We feel it is our duty to inform the public about these matters.
We want to make it clear that as education professionals we consider it our duty to educate children, to assess their learning on what has been taught, and to report this learning to parents with clarity, confidence and integrity. We feel that the way we are currently being forced to grade GREATLY inhibits our ability to accomplish this mandate.