Policy Lacks Accuracy


Grace Goodman, Rebecca Pujo, News Managing Editor, Editor-in-Chief

Since the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, the new grading policy has been in place.
The new grading policy eliminated the semester final two-hour exams. Teachers now include County Required Quarterly Assessments (RQAs) or create their own quarter assessment or project to assess the students at the end of each quarter. There are also some changes to how two different grades in each quarter average out for the semester.
This grading policy can allow a student to get a higher grade first quarter than second quarter, but their semester grade will be the higher grade. In the past, if there was no exam and only two quarter grades, the grade kept for the first semester was the grade received in the second quarter, and the grade kept for second semester was the third quarter grade. However, now these rules have been changed, and the higher grade is kept for the semester, whichever quarter it was received in.
A?I think a lot of students are taking advantage of the fact they can get a B second quarter after already getting an A first quarter and still end up with an A for their final semester grade,A? junior Tia Puskar said. A?Many students begin to slack off the second half of the semester.A?
Many students and teachers have noticed a trend in first versus second quarter grades for the 2016-17 first semester.
“I don’t think it motivates students to do their best, I think it allows them to slack off a little bit, and it’s not going to be this way when they go to college,” World Language Resource Teacher Elyse Seitz said. “Students know that it’s semester grades that go on their transcripts, so I don’t think [the new policy] is doing them any favors.”
Between the first and second quarter of the current school year the percentage of students getting As in Honors Spanish 3 went down by 11.1 percent. In Spanish 2 the percentage of As went down by 2 percent.
Because of the new grading policy, students’ transcripts can possibly be affected.
College admission officers are made aware when new grading policies are put in place and take them into consideration when evaluating a student’s admission, according to Jennifer Ziegenfus, the Montgomery County freshman admissions counselor for Towson University. However, Ziegenfus does not think the change in Montgomery County’s the grading policy will affect admission to Towson.
“So far this has not impacted any one student’s application nor do we anticipate that it will,” Ziegenfus said.
Many upperclassman wish the new grading policy was implemented earlier. A?I wish they would have changed the previous grading policy to the new one earlier because a lot of students’ GPAs would have benefited,A? junior Nycole Hidalgo said.
*Reporters used only de-identified average grades for courses when collecting and evaluating data for this article. Courses with the largest overall enrollment were selected in order to increase the sample size.