Alrighty, kids! Buckle up- we’re in for a long ride!
As soon as the new grading system Schoology post was released, I was intrigued. I’m sure many of you are too. What does it all mean, exactly?
I was lucky enough to secure an over-the-phone interview with Mr. Groh so he could explain the complexities of the grading system to me as well as any other considerations that were taken into effect while creating the system.
Let’s break it down.
The grading system or the COVID-19 Grading Policy (CGP) as it will be referred to in this article was put in place as a baseline for grading assignments during the COVID-19 crisis. The CGP is only in effect at CHS. As you all know, classes must be taken online. The classes are not as rigorously scheduled (ie there are no “blocks” or administration-set times), which results in a more flexible schedule and less consecutive hours “in” school. That is to say- people may not be spending eight hours every single day in or with “school” online.
In school, students usually spend about 5 hours a week in every class. We have to assume that the extra hour gained from the drop day goes towards homework and such. The team that decided the CGP asked that all teachers only assign enough work to cover about two hours per week of effort for each class.
From the end of the first marking period to March 13 (the last day of school) was about eight weeks. If you multiply the previous numbers of hours (5) spent per week in a single subject by the weeks in school (8), you get 40 hours. If you take the number of weeks from March 13 to the end of school (the end of the second semester) you get 12 weeks. Multiply that by the 2 hours students are supposed to be spending on a subject in online school (2 hours) and you get 24 hours. The ratio of 24:40 is 4:6.
The actual grading policy that was put into place, however, dictates that all grades that were created after March 13 would be worth only 30% of a students final grade and that all assignments graded before March 13 would be 70% of a students grade. This was to account for several nuances.
The Nuances and Further Explanation
The team who created the CGP thought that a 60:40 policy or even a 65:35 policy might be too steep. Students right now have a harder time interacting with the teachers or peers. This could result in less feedback and less support. In addition, students may not have access to strong wifi or a host of other things. This could have a strong impact on their final grade. Finally, the transition from physical school to online school was a massive one for both teachers and students. The learning curve for both parties was assumed to be present, especially in the first couple of weeks.
So, what does it mean to have your work be 30% weighted? It just means that anything that was three points in genesis only counts for one point now. So if you have a 60/60 for a project on Schoology right now, that amounts to a 20/20 on genesis.
In addition, the CGP elected to offer to drop the lowest grade in the Genesis gradebook from each course. The team may revisit the Schoology grades in June.
I talked to a few students who appreciated the 70:30. They were comfortable with their grades and were having some trouble handling online schooling, whether it be adjustments, picking up more hours at a job, or caring for family members. Some people also cited spotty wifi and a lack of materials for projects.
However, I also received negative feedback. Most people reported lower motivation due to the low affect grades achieved in the online school. Many people also disliked the fact that they were receiving a much lower-weighted grade for work such as essays, projects, and general schoolwork that they believe they would have done anyway.
Below are some quotes from students. Please keep in mind that these might not represent the grade or school as a whole:
“It takes a bit of the pressure off, so it’s a bit nicer… but we should be assigned less” – Senior
“I don’t really care. My GPA is fine, I’m in college, whatever”-Senior
“It’s harder to keep motivation levels up. I wish the feelings of students and teachers had been taken into consideration”- senior
“I think it’s a little unfair. I feel like I’m doing the same amount of work”-Junior
“The canceling of your worst grades thing? That’s awesome!”-Sophomore
“I understand weighing less, but 30% devalues my work.”-Sophomore
“I think it’s fair enough. I guess I kind of like it.”-Sophomore
“It kinda [stinks] that it’s not weighted since I’d be doing the same thing in school”-Freshman
Teachers will be required to only use live streams during the set, specific times of the day in order to minimize accidental scheduling mishaps for students. Basically, this means that your history class hours will definitely be separate from your science class hours. This does not make class mandatory, and your teachers might elect to not use live streams. It just provided a set amount of time for them to do so.
Mr. Groh reported only twelve families/students had reached out as of April 16th. That’s 12 out of about 1300 people, or .009 percent of the school. If you do decide to email (which the Chronicle neither endorses nor condones) we recommend you be as respectful as possible. Perhaps say something like:
Hello (school counselor, superintendent, Mr. Groh/Mr.Walker/Mrs. Gironda,
I am writing to you because I am concerned/pleased with the new Grading Policy. I believe it is fair/unfair because ______. Please stop/continue with what you are doing OR maybe try ____ instead. These times are hard and stressful for everyone, but this system makes it easier/harder.
Student (or parent) name
Of course, if you have some extenuating circumstances ( job, a family emergency/crisis/issue, spotty wifi, a profound lack of understanding, you have COVID-19, etc.) PLEASE reach out to your consular and your teachers. I’m sure they will try their best to be accomodating.
Mr. Groh and the rest of the CGP team want to remind everyone to continue participating and to reach out to teachers with any questions.