Fremd plans to integrate new grading scale for next school year


(Internet Photo)

Eric Wong and Andrew Hwang

In an effort to make the grading scale easier to understand for students, teachers and parents, Fremd’s administration is already looking ahead to plans for the next school year. Changing the grading scale will be one of the adjustments made for next year.

To make the grading scale easier to interpret, classes that do not have a standard grading scale will begin to adopt a standard 50-100 percent grading scale. In addition, quarters will be eliminated in favor of a semester system. Until this year, two individual quarters weighed at 40 percent each along with a final weighed at 20 percent of the grade sums up to a student’s total semester grade. Starting next year, a single semester will be implemented instead that will be weighed at 80 percent of the semester grade while the final will still be weighed at 20 percent.

Principal Kurt Tenopir explains the reasons behind the change and the administration’s goals in regards to this change.

“We’re looking to make grading a little bit easier to understand for parents and students, anybody who needs access to those grades,” Tenopir said. “I think what we have right now is a system where we’re not unified across teachers, across departments in our building, and one of the main concerns that I get from parents is ‘It’s difficult to understand my child’s grade in this class and then it’s completely different in another one.’ So we’re just trying to develop that consistency.”

Senior Sarah Yoon believes that the change to the 80-20 semester system will alleviate some of the pressure from school imposed on students.

“I think it will be very beneficial to have a 80-20 semester system because it’s nice not to be cut off in the middle of the semester,” Yoon said. “And it also puts less pressure on students for finals.”

English teacher Sarah Braverman also notes that the changes would make the grading process easier for teachers as well at the end of the quarter.

“What always happens for students and teachers at the end of the quarter, students are overwhelmed with assignments because all of their teachers are giving them summative assignments the same week, and teachers are overwhelmed with grading, because all of their students are taking summative assignments in the same week,” Braverman said. “That’s not good for anybody.”

Changing the grading scale would make class placements and communicating with teachers more efficient, according to Tenopir.

“I think the better people can understand grades, the better decisions we can make about the placements for students in their class, when we need to be able to provide more help,” Tenopir said. “It helps parents to understand what’s behind that grade so they’re able to have better conversations with their students’ teachers.”

The grading scales do not benefit just students as well. Braverman believes the new grading scale would allow teachers more time to work with their students.

“It has felt, at least in the English department, a little bit segmented, like I feel I have to finish something up, even if I wish we had another week to tie up loose ends,” Braverman said. “If students need a little bit more help, being able to give them that time before administering a summative assessment is great.”

Tenopir notes that there could be possible shortcomings with the grading scale change as well.

“Obviously, they’re changes. They’re changes for teachers, students and parents, so when you look at teachers to go to a different way of doing things, then there are sometimes bumps in the road as we learn how to do certain things,” Tenopir said. “We’ve examined some of the grades between a 40-40-20 and a 80-20, and they turn out to be relatively close in percentage with what the final grade would be, but it’s always just difficult to determine where you’re at.”

Changing the grading scale can give students the drive to achieve the grade they want by being able to interpret the grade easier, according to Tenopir.

“Knowing where you stand, if you can take a look on any given day and not have to worry about averaging one quarter versus the next and you always know exactly what your grade is, I think that helps students motivation and effort to maintain or pursue the grade they are aspiring to achieve by the end of the semester,” Tenopir said. “So I think it’s a better in-progress for them than what our current system is.”

The changes to the grading scale will take effect next school year. More information on the changes will be released in April.