Is BC’s Newly Revised Grading Policy Better than Before?

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Alexa Balodis, Staff Writer

When Berkeley Carroll made the switch to online school we adapted many of our policies to better accommodate our community in a remote environment. One in particular that had a direct impact on the student body is the new way grades were formulated.

Instead of the usual combination of participation, homework assignments, classwork, and tests and quizzes, the only element of students’ work that would be graded and counted were “summative assessments” which essentially consist of only tests and quizzes as well as some writing assessments and presentations.  

The intent behind doing so was to actually help students and minimize stress during a challenging time in a pandemic. The idea was that if students didn’t feel pressured to complete every single homework assignment on time it would alleviate the burden of online school. However, this idea, unfortunately, did not function properly for two main reasons. The first was that the burden of homework assignments still existed seeing that students still felt obligated to complete all of their homework assignments on time.  Additionally, students no longer got credit for a significant portion of work that they were doing for their classes, meaning that the anxiety around test-taking and needing to perform well on summative assessment was compounded. 

Since then, Berkeley Carroll has recognized that the original plan did not function correctly and actually did more harm than good. That is why for the second semester the grading policy has been revised. This semester, homework assignments and class participation can now count for up to 10% of your grade in each class—a change that I see as a wonderful way to recognize students’ hard work beyond summative assessments and make the class overall more engaged with the given subject. Despite the change to the homework policy, students will still be given the opportunity to revise summative assessments to allow everyone to be more successful during online school. This policy was also not revised to preclude participation as a part of students’ overall grades, which leads me to wonder if there will be any further changes made to the grading policy depending on students’ preferences. 

Regardless, I think the student body should feel confident going into the second half of this year knowing that the administration is doing everything they can to set us up for success and will continue to be aware of our needs throughout the school year and beyond.