School may move to nine week grading periods


Taylor Bravo

Students in all classes, such as Courtney Todd’s GT English 1 class anticipate next year’s shift from 6 week grading periods to 9 week grading periods.

Savannah Whitmer, News Editor

Beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, the school is expected to implement longer grading periods, making a transition from the current six week grading schedule to nine week periods. The change to dividing grading periods into quarters will be a decision recommended by school administration and then voted on by the school board in the near future.

“It has actually been something that we have a grading task force looking into our schedule,” principal Chris Mayfield said. “And they’re looking at whether there are some things that fit better from a school structure standpoint that might align with mastery learning and grades reflecting what students know.”

While the change to nine week grading periods does not mean students will have more or less work, past experience with short grading periods has presented a problem to school administration.

“This past year, the third six weeks, it was really five weeks, and then when you factored in semester exams, it was really four weeks of teaching and learning,” Mayfield said. “So when you compress it into that short of time it’s really difficult for students and teachers to have an opportunity to put a grade in the gradebook that represents what you really know in that short of an amount of time.”

For teachers that have experienced the quarter grading system at other schools, the shift to nine weeks will allow substantial time for students to master material.

“I prefer quarters, only because you get locked into that time that’s shorter than a six week grading period,” AP Language and Composition teacher Jasen Eairheart said. “When final exams are after Christmas break, it works for the breakdown of the six weeks, but it doesn’t work with class. Who wants to take exams a couple of weeks after they’ve already shut down for the semester? So I think this is the best solution to coincide with exams before Christmas break.”

In addition to providing teachers with more time to cover material before grades are due, the nine weeks grading periods will give students more of a chance to improve grades.

“I like nine weeks better,” junior and former McKinney North student Haylee Chamberlain said. “There are more grades in the gradebook so it gives you a lot more time to get your stuff together.”

The transition will be welcome by many teachers and students alike.

“I think it will be more stable, and you won’t have the four weeks problem happen again,” Eairheart said. “A nine week could be seven or eight weeks, or it could be 10 or 11 weeks. It’s two semesters, and that’s what it comes down to.”

While the proposed system has not yet been approved, administration is hopeful that the school board will accept the policy change and that it will solve the problems that occurred in past years.

“It’s really intended to help students,” Mayfield said. “So whatever that grade is, it’s a better reflection of student knowledge because it’s a longer period of time. I think it will help, because of the longer amount of time in each grading period. I think it has the opportunity to help students feel like they can have grades that hopefully better reflect what students know.”