Grading System Blues
The new grading system at East has several positives and negatives, and sound arguments can be made from both sides. However, I disagree with it. First, all assignments and tests should be graded alike. Homework is actually an excellent way to practice for what will be on an exam as it gives opportunities to practice, make mistakes, then receive feedback. This allows room to improve to work toward a test, as opposed to putting so much emphasis on just exams. Colleges assign hours of homework, and in order to have the work stamina expected in college, we should practice homework in high school. The perspective on homework needs to have a different more positive outlook as a tool for learning instead of a burden.
Another aspect of the new grading system is that during high school years students are preparing for college. Through the years, DPS has always been about preparing students to be college ready; on that note they should think about how colleges grade and view students work. With the new grading system, teachers are basically just teaching to the test. The grading systems in high school should mirror the college grading systems.
In addition, test anxiety is more present with this new grading system. Some students have test anxiety and therefore will not excel on tests. By making students grades be only based on tests adds another layer of stress and pressure for students. If teachers are looking for a new grading system, they should use one that reflects the whole picture of what the student can do. Grades should be a compilation of work that shows various aspects of student learning.
On the other hand, if the new grading system is working for some students, I am curious as to how they are being successful under the new system. Some advocates for the new system mention equity, but I don’t understand how only scoring students on one test creates equity. In contrast, it isn’t equitable for students who are visual or hands-on learners to show what they know. How will students continue to have the spark in them to want to learn and do well in school if they feel everything rides on a few tests? Students need to keep the spark of wanting to learn and excel alive in order to become good successful people in this world.
I understand that teachers may be excited about the new way to grade but as time passes, how will it affect their students? Will the new grading system eventually lower things like the graduation rate here at East? Teachers need to think back to when they were in school; would they be teachers today if this was the grading system for them? How can students and teachers find a happy balance with the grading system?