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Teachers’ Perspective on the Grading Policy

Photo Courtesy of Jamela Vidal

Photo Courtesy of Jamela Vidal

Hannah Jenarine, Assistant Grab Bag Editor

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Alfie Khan said, “The more we want our children to be lifelong learners, genuinely excited about words and numbers and ideas, avoid sticking to what’s easy and safe, and become sophisticated thinkers, the more we should do everything possible to help them forget about grades.”  

As previously established, the new grading policy at PHS is very controversial and provocative among students, but how are teachers – the people who have to comply with its rules and regulations – taking it?  What are their opinions of the policy?

After interviewing a few of Pikesville’s instructors, there seems to be a mutual consensus that the grading policy has its advantages and drawbacks.  While some teachers are tolerant with the guidelines, others are irritated with its constant refinements.

“I do not like the grading policy because it is very ambiguous and it was not very well articulated in the beginning of the year,” says Mrs. Corasaniti, who is the head of the Foreign Language department.

“It was very uncertain and for some time I felt like we were in the unknown” chimes in Mrs. Mitton, an English and journalism teacher.

This reveals how the policy has caused discontent among teachers because at any given moment there can be a change in its criterion.  In fact, according to Mr. Dresner, “it has already led to a lack of trust in the system.”

Furthermore, the policy has also caused conflict in regards to homework–an essential factor towards succeeding in class.  According to Ms. Lawrence, “students no longer do homework because it is not graded.  So, since they do not practice outside of school, it will be no surprise when they end up failing.  Unfortunately, high school students are too in the now to see how not doing their homework will affect their overall performance in class.”

Nevertheless, despite these complications, teachers have learned how to integrate the policy into their own individual teaching styles.

“My teaching methods typically involve a lot of practice before I give an assessment so I am very passionate about the mastery portion of the policy.  For instance, before I test my students on their understanding, I do a lot of hands on activities and group practice,” says Ms. Seawell, who teaches Marketing, Accounting, and Business.

“I now look into the specific skills that my kids need to learn and try to design assessments that fully measure those skills instead of assessing a medley of varying standards,” agrees Mrs. Haroth.

This reveals that for some teachers the grading process has helped them focus more on their students’ comprehension of the material being taught and has enabled them to incorporate its rules into their teaching routines.

Essentially, since PHS has become a lighthouse school, and has undergone other significant changes there is no wonder as to why the grading policy has had so many adjustments.  Even though, many teachers find faults with it, others are happy with the system and believe that it fairly assesses all students on their mastery of the content they have learned.

 

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Teachers’ Perspective on the Grading Policy