Posted by: Cobb County Liberal | May 29, 2009

Cobb County – God Damn It Board of Education, we don’t 3-2-1.

Well, the Cobb County School Board has once again shown it cares not what parents, students, and teachers want.  They, and only they, know what’s best for the students in our county apparently.  They voted to expand the 3-2-1 grading system, despite no one wanting it.

School board members approved the new report card expansion into third grade by a 4 to 2 vote. They added a new grade, a 3-plus, as a concession to parents and teachers who said the current system fails to acknowledge high achievers.

“It’s the dumbing down of the entire education system,” said Tammy Dennington, who opposes the new report card, and joined many other parents, holding signs in protest.

This makes no sense.  How does this let parents hone in on their students’ more specific problematic areas.  If parents can’t understand  what A-F mean, how will they understand what 3-2-1 mean?  It’s a flawed argument from the school board.

And what the HELL is with this “3 plus”?!?

How about we also put in a “1 minus.”  Then we have five different levels of grades!  So, instead of A, B, C, D, F we have 3 plus, 2, 1, 1 minus.  Because 3 plus, 3, 2, 1 is clearly easier to understand than A, B, C, D, and F.  Right?!?

At least one guy on the board gets it (by pure luck, he represents my district.)

Opposition didn’t come just from parents. “The process was flawed from the very beginning. Two wrongs don’t make a right,” said board member John Crooks, who said the board needs to take another look at the issue and find a way to help lower-performing schools.



  1. I’m not convinced that because there were a lot of vocal parents opposing it that that makes this grading system a bad idea. Atlanta Public Schools uses a similar grading system for K-3, having made the switch a couple of years ago based on research-based best practices. My understanding is that the point of this system is that student mastery of particular foundation skills is what is important for early elementary learners and the traditional A, B, C system tends to obscure transmitting this detailed information to parents. And trains kids very early to focus on getting the grade rather than on mastering phonemic awareness, for example.

    I don’t feel like I have enough information to make a call on this particular issue because I don’t know enough about Cobb or the 3-2-1 system, but I kind of expect a little more research into the basis for the recommendation (which someone thought was what is best for students) before you fly off the handle in opposing (or favoring) something, my dear.

  2. Thanks RDK 😉

    It wasn’t just parents against it – on the MDJ they talked about a survey sent out to teachers AND parents and the results were pretty overwhelmingly against it.

    If we want more specificity in report cards, I’m fine with that. If we, instead of wanting to give a grade for “Reading” want to break it down into sub components, I’m more than happy (although I doubt overworked teachers would be.) But why go to this 3-2-1 style, why not just give A-F for each sub area, and an overall grade. A-F is quite a motivational tool later on in public schools.

    I also wonder about the shift that students go through from going into 3-2-1 into A-F, now at the fourth grade. Is there any sort of stumbling that goes on there?

    It does teach students to focus on the grade rather than mastery. However, if the grade is truly reflective of what they know and their progress, then there’s nothing wrong with wanting that grade.

    You can make the same argument about the focus on testing in public schools and the pull towards just teaching the test. If the test is truly reflective of what is important to know and to have mastered, then as someone put it to me, what’s wrong with teaching the test, as long as the test is designed correctly.

    Someone thought this was best for students. Someone also thought that A-F was best. It’s all dependent on who the someone is.

    As for researching it – I wish the Cobb Board would have done their research. They sent out questionnaires to various school systems that have used or currently use the 3-2-1 system, but the study group admitted they hadn’t had the time to read any of it, but still sent it up to the whole board with an approval recommendation.

  3. If you live in Cobb County, and want a choice then I suggest you look into the charter schools in the community. Imagine International Academy of Mableton on Mableton Parkway is a free public charter school serving all of Cobb County. For parents who would like a structured environment with high standards for their children, Imagine Mableton is a good choice. It is the only school in the area that made AYP at the elementary level. Imagine Mableton serves kindergarten through eighth grade students and requires uniforms. This is a free public school that has a private feel. Parents do have to volunteer 15 hours per school year and transport their children. The free and reduced lunch program is available for those famlies that qualify. If you are not satisfied with your local Cobb County School, Imagine International Academy of Mableton would be a good choice.

  4. I just re-read my post. The school made AYP at all levels, but it was the only elementary school in the area to do so. AYP is adequate yearly progress as defined by the No Child Left Behind law.

  5. New member

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