After hearing the news about the new changes coming to SLZUSD, senior Joey Pimentel loved the changes. He talked about his experience with both of the grading systems and preferred the 4 point grading system.
“In middle school, I got ok grades but high school with 4 point grading my grades improved so much and I loved the 4 point grading system. I did not like the 100 point grading system because of my grades. I wish all teachers would use the 4 point system.”
SLZUSD has plans to change the grading system for middle and high schoolers. After distance learning when we go to in person learning, the district wants to standardize the grading system for classes. The district office is pushing secondary teachers (middle and high) to consider changing their grading practices in the coming years to be more uniform across subjects. Among the changes suggested one of the biggest shifts is the encouragement towards new grading scales such as:
4 pt scale (like what science classes at AHS already do)
Going to a 50 point scale instead of 100 (so 0/50 or 50/100 is the lowest possible grade)
Director of Secondary Education Renee Lama is the direct supervisor of the principal for middle and high campuses. This is Lama's second year with the district and she noticed that the teachers had different grading systems and wanted to change policies in the district.
“We haven't had a uniform grading system before, the teachers were left to decide how to grade their students. When I came into the district I wanted to take a look at how to standardize across so the experience you have at Arroyo is similar to San Lorenzo. We ask English and Math classes to change their grading system to a 4 point or 50 point system, these are more fair to students and after distance learning hope to see the impact. After distance learning we hope to see these changes into effect next year. The feedback from both teachers and students are good. Some people are not a fan of the 50 point system but I hope they see the pros of the new changes.The recommendations and new policies will benefit both teachers and students.”
Lama has hope that the impact of the changes are going to benefit both teachers and students. She hopes that the teacher and student discuss more about the students’ grades and give feedback on work.
“I hope the impact is that both teachers and educators ask themselves,what do grades mean? I hope to include students and parents in this process. It should not be a surprise we should know why the student got the grade that they earn and the grades we are giving are tied and connected to the content we are teaching. I want more feedback to students, teachers should explain why they took away points. I hope students are actually learning and not just doing stuff to earn a good grade and parents are understanding because of the new system being the same in every class now instead of being different in every classroom. I hope to see students’ grades to be improved. I want to see less F’s and more students earning credit. I hope this from the new grade policy”
English Teacher Jessica Vaughn, when she first started at Arroyo High School. She used the 100 point grading system but a few years ago started to use the 4 point system. She explains why teachers should switch to the new grading system and what are the benefits.
“When I first started at Arroyo, I used the 100 point system because I grew with this system and was now grading students with the same system. A few years ago I changed my grading system to the 4 point system. At first it was challenging because I am an English teacher. I teach things over and over again, it’s not like in math or science where you are mastering a specific thing and move on. In English you have to be more creative with creating rubrics and what earning a 4 looks like in the fall versus in the spring because you are improving and getting better. I like the 4 point system because there's a much wider percentage of what it means to get an A, B, C, D and F. Less for an F and more for the other grades. Students have feedback on what they need help on and what they need to improve and teachers will see the improvement of their students.”
English teacher Robert Guarino who teaches both English 12 and AP Language, he uses the 100 point grading explains why he thinks that this is going to mess up teachers who have worked out effective grading systems on their own.
“Having taught this class successfully for nine years, I believe it’s going to be a challenge for all the teachers to change and switch to this new grading system. Teachers should have their own grading system.”
Lama explaining how the district plans to roll out this policy and get teachers to “switch” to the new grading scales. She explains recommendations teachers should make because the teachers and students would have a big impact on it. She knows it's going to be challenging but it is going to be worth it.
“The changes are happening now, teachers are working now transitioning their grade book so that it matches for Semester 1 grades. A change we made was progress reports before it was each quarter but now it's every six weeks. Every semester you get a two six weeks progress report, only students with F and D would get progress reports but now every student gets one.”
A suggestion that Lama would like teachers to do with students is being able to retake big assignments and assessments that have an impact on your grade. For grades she wants to eliminate zeros because with the 100 point grading system, assignments can affect your grades.
“We are asking teachers to allow students to retake a test and this is not only for tests but for essays, protects or big items that count for grades but it is not a requirement just a strong recommendation. Another thing we asked teachers to do is eliminate zeros, for example you could have a B in the class but now it drops you down to a C, if a student gets an F we ask them to put an incomplete rather than an F on the transcript.”
Lama wants teachers with no late work policy to rethink about the policy and try to be more flexible with students. Another thing is to get rid of extra credit because if you accept late work then no need to have extra credit.
“We are trying to make teachers flexible with late work, teachers with no late work policy to rethink the policy and get rid of extra credit because the late work, they don't need extra credit when they could turn in the late work. I know it is more work for teachers with these recommendations but it will have a big impact on students.”
Senior Joey Pimentel has hope that the changes that are coming to the district will have a big impact.
“I like those that are coming. I wished these were made earlier. Both teachers and students will benefit from this and hope these changes that are coming will have a big impact.”