Students sacrificing skills, time to vary state systems

HAILEY DEARES, SSC Editor

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50.30.20.
These numbers currently define the value attributed to the work students complete in any school anywhere in Harford County. However, in other counties, different grading policies are in place and different rules involving homework and grading are enforced.
So why does this matter?
Because grades matter. To parents. To scholarship committees. To university admissions offices.
Baltimore County “believes penalizing students for late or missing work is not a practice that promotes learning,” according to the BCPS grading manual. In Harford County, that most definitely isn’t the case. A late grade in Harford County is a 0, while in Baltimore County the grade would exempt. Teachers in BCPS are expected to provide the student with enough time to complete the assignment or redo any assignment they do poorly on as many times as needed to get a better grade. Doing so gives students there an opportunity to raise an otherwise poor grade, an opportunity that HCPS students DO not currently have.
Grading policies vary school to school, with each school having the power to to administer their own grading scale. In Baltimore County, AP classes are also weighted on a 6 point scale. Homework, effort, attendance and behavior will no longer be factored into students’ grades in BCPS according to The Baltimore Sun. Homework is to be assigned but not graded, and shows up on a seperate part of the report card. In HARCO, none of these things is accurate.
In Harford County, late work in most circumstances results in a zero. Our AP classes are weighted on a 5 point scale. If you fail a test you fail, you get one chance to pass and maybe one retake at your teacher’s discretion. Attendance does matter and can result in detention. Finals can either have no effect on your grade or can be the one thing between you and that 4.0.
Montgomery County has seen A”s nearly double since the implementation of a “no final” policy. However there is a noticeable “disconnect between stellar grade-point averages and lower-than-expected SAT scores” according to Ned Johnson, president of PrepMatters, a college preparation company. Grades have improved but SAT scores have remained the same, so what does this show? Getting A’s is “easier” yet student effort has decreased in later quarters since grades are already “locked in.”
With all these different grading methods, the average SAT score from 2017 in all all three of those counties only differs by around 150 points.
How is this fair? With each county having different expectations of getting into college, this skews the pool of college applicants. All this information and comparison leaves an important question, what really does matter? These grading methods create students that could be very much underprepared for college, who focus so much on SAT scores and getting good grades that they don’t focus on the skills and abilities to do so. Is this practice process product system going to overdrive Harford County students into a school mania while their other Maryland students have a break?
The SAT scores don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, it’s how the students do in college, and how they succeed in real life, which will only be told by future generations.

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Students sacrificing skills, time to vary state systems