Students and staff have different views about 80-20 Grading Policy

Faith Palmer

 

The grading scale for Auburn High School teachers remains heavily weighted towards test or assessments because of the switch to standards based grading. According to the Auburn School District website, “ Academic standards are important because they help ensure that all students, no matter where live, are prepared for success in college and workforce.” Tests, assessments, finals, and quizzes composes eighty percent of the grade, and everything else like homework or classroom assignments are at twenty percent. Some teachers are doing a mix on that, and changing the 80 percent into 60, and 40 for assignments.

Mike Grenz, the Advanced Placement Human Geography and European History teacher, took over after Erick Arnold left. Mr. Grenz does not follow the eighty-twenty grading scale because his AP class’ standards are set by the College Board. An AP class is a “college level class”, and the grading for that class is graded like a college level class. The grading scale Grenz uses is more of a 50-50 grade scale, where everything “balances out” and is put in one big point bucket. Grenz stated believes the AP grading scale is beneficial because it, “helps in two ways for different kinds of students. The students that do well the first time, they have a second chance. With AP, you usually can’t retake tests. ” Daniel Spray likes Grenz’ grading scale, “I prefer the way Mr. Grenz grades, it makes me feel like the practice is worth it.” Mr. Grenz also stated, “ I love teaching AP, the parents and students are great. I’m always changing the curriculum every year and education goes in cycles, the grading scale might not be around for long. Something that is popular this year, won’t necessarily be popular in the next couple of years.”

Jennifer Cooke, an Algebra, Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry, and AP Statistics teacher has more of a mixed grading scale. Algebra and Advanced Algebra have the 80-20 grading scale, yet the AP statistics class has tests at 70 percent, homework is at 20 percent, and finals at 10 percent. At the end of the second semester for AP stats, Cooke stated that, “ten percent can either be earned by taking the exam for college credit, or taking the class’s final.” For AP European History, tests usually cannot be made up. But AP stats is different than AP European History. Ms. Cooke gives the AP students a chance to, “make up missed points on a test by meeting with me and redoing everything they missed, getting seventy percent of points back.” Ms. Cooke’s style for teaching is based on the scale that the “math department has been using for a couple years”. She also said that, “research has shown that there is a strong relationship between homework and grades in high school.” Since the 80-20 percent grading scale does have built in retakes she agreed that, “it is beneficial for students”.

Sophomore Daniel Spray does not appreciate the 80-20 grade scale. It “makes me confused that practice is worth practically nothing and all they want is execution.” Spray has the scale in his PreCalculus class. Using 80-20 in this class, Spray said “there’d be no point in doing the practice.”  Spray would favor a simple point system or non-weighted scale because, “it makes students more motivated to do homework.” If Spray was a teacher, he “would do the no weighted scale because I feel like it’s fair to all students, it’s easier to do homework that matters, then to do homework that is only going to be 20 percent.”

Senior Mikayla Brummond feels that the grading scale is a, “better reflection of a student’s learning”. Brummond also stated about the 80-20 grading scale that, “yes it is beneficial” and “with homework, answers can easily get found online but with an assessment you have to know the material”. Brummond personally said about her learning, “ I am good at memorizing materials and with assessments higher weighted, I notice I have better grades”.