Two-tier grading system no impact on Catholic schools

The NSW Government has introduced descriptive equivalents for the new A to E grading system for schools in the state but Catholic schools are sticking to the letters, according to NSW Catholic Education Commission director, Brian Croke.

"Teachers have already grasped the challenge of making A to E work and are doing so effectively," Dr Croke told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Dr Croke was responding to a decision by the decision of NSW Education Minister, Carmel Tebbutt, to allow school principals and teachers who are opposed to A to E grades being imposed on all children to choose to use an equivalent five-band scale, which describes achievement levels as outstanding, high, sound, basic or limited.

"Government schools have an option and can use the word descriptors. But they still have to describe the A to E equivalents," Dr Croke told the Herald.

Catholic and independent schools have already implemented the A to E system for half-yearly reports to qualify for Federal Government funding.

However, NSW Parliamentary Opposition spokesman for education, Brad Hazzard, said the revised system may create a false impression of second-rate citizens in government schools.

"Twelve years in office and in just 10 months Labor has trashed the school reporting system and has created a two-class system," he said.

"Catholic and independent schools and schools in upper socio-economic areas will probably use the A to Es and all the other government schools will use word descriptions."

However, Dr Croke has rejected as "an exaggeration" the claim that the new descriptors would create a two-tier system.

The new grades:
A Outstanding
B High
C Sound
D Basic
E Limited

Schools split on reports (Sydney Morning Herald, 27/9/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
National Catholic Education Commission

New A-E marking system not fair: Vic independent teachers (CathNews, 28/8/06)
A-E report confusion in Victoria (CathNews, 26/7/06)
Catholic parents favour A-to-E school reports (CathNews 20/6/06)

27 Sep 2006