Student calls for change in grading policy

Alaina Galasso, Editor in Chief

Grades are an unbelievably large reason why high schoolers feel stressed throughout the school year. Logging into Texas Connect after a strenuous day, waiting anxiously for a teacher to pass back a test and listening to others brag about their scores can make a stomach sick. Students are so overwhelmed by stress from grades and the possible consequences of not doing well that their grades often don’t reflect what they’ve learned in school.

The grading policy should be rethought to promote learning and decrease the stress of students. The focus should be shifted back to actual learning and away from who has the highest grade point average.

Right now tests usually decide the majority of the students grade. It doesn’t matter how well they know the subject or how hard they’ve worked in class or on their homework, but how well they perform on sometimes a single test. These tests often come from the district with oddly worded questions and sometimes topics that haven’t been covered in class. Tests are an inadequate way to represent the students learning. Yes, students should take tests, but they shouldn’t count for a majority of the grade when learning isn’t about how much you can cram before a test. Learning is what you will remember throughout your life. Students forget what they have studied after the test has passed, and therefore this information will never help them later. Tests, when used as the majority of a students grade, defeat the purpose of learning and add unneeded stress.

The grading policy should be adjusted so tests still count as a portion of a students grade, but things like homework and short learning check quizzes count toward the majority or at least as much as tests do. This grading policy would make sure students are trying their best, practicing the information they have been given in class and understanding the subject matter. Students’ stress levels would be decreased if the majority of their grade and therefore future wasn’t riding on a few tests. However, this policy would still test their knowledge and encourage them to pay attention in class.

Another option would be to simplify tests; eliminating confusing word choices and problems the students have never encountered before. If the tests pulled parallel questions to the homework and quizzes then the students’ performance would be solely based on what they’ve learned, as it should be. The questions should be challenging, but at the same time shouldn’t ask about material not covered in class or on homework assignments.

School is about learning, not competing to see who can get the highest grades. Teachers should focus on the learning aspect of school and consider adjusting the grading policy.