Grading Policies Cause Controversy

Earth Science grading policy.

By Taylor DeDely ‘17

In the eyes of students, the grading policies could sometimes be confusing or have a sense of unfairness. However, many teachers believe the standards set by the policies are reasonable and balanced.

At Midwood, each department has a different grading policy with distinct percentages as well as categories. The policies often reflect certain criteria.. In more hands-on classes such as art, music, and gym, factors such as citizenship, attendance, and attire would be of more importance. In academic based classes, the grades are commonly established upon project grades, participation, quiz grades, test grades, and classwork.

For many students, especially upon first entering the school, the difference in policies could sometimes become confusing and overwhelming. Other students believe the differences are for the best.

“The grading policies are confusing between classes because you have to remember the different percentages of each class and what the biggest percentage in each class is,” said Leonard Abramov ’17.

Joelle Saadeh ’17 agreed that remembering which grading policy refers to which class can sometimes cause unecessary confusion.

She  said, “I find it confusing that each department uses a different policy. It is too hard to recall of the percentages.

However, work is different for each class, so I think it is better having them be different.”

Not every class or teacher grades the same, so students are going to encounter contracts with different grading requirements.

Kainat Yasin ’17 thought that since each subject area is different, it only makes sense to have different grading policies for each.

        She said, “I don’t mind that the grading policies are different because each class is unique and one policy could not be an accurate fit for every department.”

Some students also believe that the percentages are not well balanced in certain classes.

Saadeh said, “I feel like some grading policies are disproportional. Sometimes, 80% will go to testing, while little will go towards homework.”

For most classes, it’s usually the tests that are worth most of your grade, while other parts such as homework and projects are worth less.

Maya Engstorm ’18 said, “Some tests are worth a lot more when they’re graded in different departments. I don’t think this is fair because some students don’t perform well under pressure.”

“In the math department, tests are usually worth anything from 70 to 80 percent of your grade. Even when some students still have good classwork and do all of the homework, it could really bring their grade down,” she added.

Based on in class performance, students are graded on their participation as well.

Yasin said, “I wish participation did not count as much because some students need time to think about their answer and would rather write them down.”

Many teachers believe that the grading policies are fair and have practical standards.

Ms. Andrea Diamond of the Social Studies Department said, “I believe the grading policy is fair because we allow students within reason to make up work, especially if they have extenuating circumstances in their personal life.”

“Our goal as educators is to help students reach their full potential, while providing a nurturing environment. It is important to have standards and students need to learn responsibility so they can be successful in the real world,” she said.   

“However, a little sensitivity can go a long way in keeping a student motivated,” Ms. Diamond added.

Mr. Steve Basile of the Physical Education Department said, “I feel that the grading policy is fair, and as far as physical education goes, we give kids an opportunity for a chance to make up 10 to 15 gym classes during regents week.”

Ms. Susanna Sala, a Spanish teacher, believes the Foreign Language Department’s grading policy is fair since it takes several aspects into consideration, such as test grades, quiz grades, project grades, and class participation, which gives students a chance to boost their grades.

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