Parents ask Federal Way schools to flunk new grading scale

FEDERAL WAY -- A new grading system is earning a failing grade from some students and parents in Federal Way.

They claim it's not a fair representation of their hard work. Even kids who normally get straight A's say their academic future is in jeopardy.

Parents say a new standards based grading system known by students as "power-law" is disempowering their kids. They say it started when the Federal Way School District started measuring student achievement through a number system, rather than letter grades.

"We need more information," said parent Angela Worcester. "There's nowhere on the website, nowhere in the grade book where it tells you exactly how to calculate your grades."

The new grading system tracks a student's progress throughout the year and no longer allows test scores to be averaged. Instead, parents say it follows the trend of their scores. Students who get high scores throughout the course, but end on a low score, say it's extremely hard to come back up. They feel the grading system isn't a fair representation of their work.

Nicholas Pierce, a high school junior, says he wants to see change.

"This grade book says you haven't progressed in your growth, even though I know I understand these concepts," he said.

A school district spokesperson told KOMO News they continue to listen to parents, staff and students and are considering making changes.

"At all times, our intentions are to do what's best for all 22,000 Federal Way Public Schools students," the spokesperson said.

Worcester insists the math is wrong.

"Our kids are hurting. These transcripts effect life opportunities. Please include us in coming up with a solution because we are ready," she said.

The district says if a student has a bad day and scores poorly on an assessment, a new assessment can be requested. They also say they're holding forums for parents to learn more about the new grade book and how grades are calculated.