New school year pens new grading systems


Stu Mair

Before the time of Powerschool, 70/30 grading scales, or nine-week grading periods, teachers used the "EZ Grader" to calculate students grades on assignments.

Mary Catherine Wells, Staff Reporter

The new school year brings many new things: new teachers, students, and traditions. Some new grading changes are also being put into place for the 2015-16 school year.

“The structure of the grading period calculation will be changed to emphasize major grades,” said Dennis Muizers, deputy superintendent of curriculum, instruction and assessment, in the Curriculum Express newsletter on June 17.

Teachers formed a “task force” to finish this project.

“70 percent of your grade is calculated from major assignments,” grading task force member and associate principal Teresa Dodson said. “The teachers can decide what is a major assignment. It could be a project, extended project, or a test. Typically it would be a test. So each grading period, students should have at least two major assignments, it could be three, but it should be at least two. The other 30 percent comes from all the other stuff, the minor stuff.”

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Students were surprised at this new scoring system and immediately started thinking of the negative aspects.

“I don’t like the new grading system as much as the old one because if you do bad on a test, it will lower your grade more with the 70/30 system than it would with the 50/50,” sophomore Kara Davis said. “Also sometimes you can’t make that grade up which will hurt the student’s grade even more.”

Along with the new grading systems, there are new grading periods.

“The six-week grading periods will be changed to nine-week grading periods,” Muizers said. “Currently there is a six-week grading period for grades 5-12 and the recommended change is to nine-week grading periods. The submission of grades would occur four times during a school year instead of six, however, progress reports would still occur every three weeks to keep parents and students informed. There will still be at least two major grades each grading period and at least 10 minor grades each grading period.”

Teachers look at this new system and see good things.

“I think it’s great for students and teachers because in my experience, I really need a full six to seven weeks to teach a unit,” French teacher Melody Mozley said. “So this gives us time to do all of our assessments within the time frame. It also eliminates students grades potentially having a drastic change right before report cards come out due to a test right at the end of the six weeks.”

However, there are some negative aspects about the new system teachers see.

“The challenge I see personally which will be easy to overcome, is just getting used to such a new concept,” Mozley said. “But I think it’s going to be great for our kids, and all teachers and students will get used to it once it’s put into practice for some time.”

Most students have had the six six-weeks grading period system all of their school life.

“I think the new grading system is weird,” senior Kendall Berger said. “It makes it feel like school is longer than it actually is, because there are more weeks crammed into a grading period. We used to have to worry about grades six times a year, but now we only have to worry about them four times a year.”

The new systems are set in place just in time for the beginning of the school year.

“As teachers and parents continue to partner for the success of our kids, this new system should improve communication, simplify an aspect of administration for the teachers, and keep our focus on instruction and student success,” school board member Robbin Wells said.