Grading system includes inconsistency across curricular areas

CASSIDY CHANDLER, Features Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The new 50-30-20 weighted grading system that has been implemented in Harford County was a strong attempt to create grading consistency across all curricular areas. However, what this system has accomplished is quite the opposite of its original goal.
In the guidelines for the new system, there are specific instructions that state: “Teachers should use their professional discretion to determine the appropriateness of the assignment and how it should be weighted. All curriculum guides provide content-specific examples for student assignment.”
Teachers can generally choose where they put assignments based on how well or how poorly their students perform, with little in the way of specific guidelines.
And that is exactly what teachers are doing. But this is not their fault, in fact, it is actually benefiting us. As a result, their teaching looks effective and students score seem to benefit.
Lots of teachers give assignments that they intend to place in the product category, which is
50% of your total grade. When they realize their students did not do as well on the assignment as they predicted, they may often times move the assignment to the process section which is worth 30%, and if the grades are still heavily weighed down, they might even move it down to be worth 20% in the practice section.
It is even possible to have two of the same types of assignments in two different sections. A quiz with a lower class average may be in process and a quiz with grades that the teacher was satisfied with might be in product.
When a low grade is put into the product section is when students can find themselves stuck in a rut. When there are not a lot of grades in the section that is the most heavily weighed, the quarter grade is detrimentally impacted.
While it is beneficial to the students that the teachers can move assignments around, it means that what was designed to be consistent grading scale is in its very nature, flawed.
In the practice section, the guidelines specifically state that the work placed in the section is “graded for completion and participation.”
It is hard for elective classes like band, chorus, and orchestra to follow this grading system considering they do not have many opportunities for practice grades since most of what they are doing is process and product.
Another flaw in the system is that across different subject areas, teachers have different protocol they are instructed to follow.
The English curriculum does not have specific county initiated assessments.They can have more product grades, which ends up boosting students grades, because the county is not dictating them.
On the other hand, math teachers have specific curriculum they must follow. They must give a certain amount of tests each quarter and that number is usually fairly small.
The teachers are not at fault, the system itself is flawed and it shouldn’t be used to measure student academic achievement.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email