Opinion: Changes to grading do not benefit students

By Emily Beuter — There are students every year who want to raise their grade at the end of a grading period. Will bringing in tissues help? Pens? Hand sanitizer? Turning in late homework for any extra points? Students go to desperate measures to raise their grades. This year, with the new grading scale students may have less flexibility in their grades. The days of bringing in tissues may now be over

The new grading scale is known as 80/20. 80 percent of a student’s grade is based on a category called achievement. This category consists of tests, quizzes, projects and papers. 20 percent of a student’s grade is based on everything else such as classwork and homework. This new grade scale was put into place to make grading more uniform. Before, the grading scale varied by class since teachers were allowed to choose their own.

From a parent perspective, this new grading scale is much easier for them to understand. They can see if their child fails his or her tests or does his or her homework. The grades are easier to understand since every teacher uses it. Teachers no longer have to explain that their tests count for 30 percent of a students grade while another teacher’s tests may be worth 25 percent.

Some teachers feel sympathetic for students dealing with the new grading scale. They understand how some students can have testing anxiety and offer more redemption or some credit back on tests.

To put it simply, the grading scale weighs heavily on tests. If a student is a bad test taker this grading scale hurts them. There are students who do all their classwork and homework but are terrible test takers. For these students the new grading scale does not reflect their grade or work ethic. There are also students who are great test takers who do not have to study or do their homework and this new grading scale is probably beneficial for them. Lastly, there are those students who do all of their work and do great on tests but in this case any grading scale would work for them.

So what grading scale should schools use to benefit everyone? Truthfully there is none. Just like the real world, there is no grading scale that is fair for everyone.

Ultimately, the new grading scale prepares students for the academic world of testing. Testing is key. One Advance Placement tests decide if AP credit is given. The ACT and SAT are huge factors when applying for college. There are a number of different exams to get into certain careers, such as the bar exam for law, state boards for nursing, pharmacy and many other careers. However, outside the academic world, tests no longer have value. In the job world, many jobs are project base. Create a project to build a road, build a house or plan a lesson plan. No one gets an ‘A’ on these projects but rather an end result.

Although, there are many perspectives on the new grading scale, not every one was considered. For those students who do badly at tests or have testing anxiety this grading scale not not help them at all. Even though the grading scale is uniform, not every class was taken into account. How does one compare a math class to band? Even though this may work for the main core classes, other classes such as phy ed or arts have a difficult time adjusting to it. This is why some classes received permission to adjust their grading scale. Every class is structured differently just as every student is, and the new grading scale does not accommodate to everyone. Even though the new grading scale will not change, a few teachers, attitude has and boxes of tissues may soon reappear in the hands of students.

[Updated Aug. 7, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]