The Discoverer

The Dreaded Four Point Scale

Tatiana+Botero
Tatiana Botero

Tatiana Botero

Tatiana Botero

Tatiana Botero, Discoverer Staff Writer

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 As a young and eager middle schooler, everyday I looked forward to becoming high school kid where everything changed for the better: where responsibility is only yours and there is more freedom with your school work.  For example, the grading system would change to be out of 100%, instead of out of four points. However, this once positive aspect of high school at TCS that made high school such a thrilling experience, might become a nightmare that most current students fear and dread: the four-point scale, also known as standard-based grading.

Altering the grading system for high school is an idea that has been circling the minds of directives for a couple of years, but it might finally be implemented next year for good. Standard based grading is a system that has progressively become more popular in middle and high schools worldwide, that uses standards and not assignments or tests to assess students’ abilities, “Now, every course has a set of standards that have to be covered by students in order to move onto the next grade. Also, teachers have different ways of teaching each standard,” said Roger Arbabi, TCS High School principal.  However, from personal experience and discussions with classmates, a lot students agree that this decision is not the best regarding student benefit and even teacher comfort. Likewise, directives and staff that are apparently in favor of this adjustment agree on the fact that TCS as whole, needs to set better expectations and stricter rules to even consider this reform possible, “Standard based grading is all about students learning and meeting a standard, and if the school doesn’t realize it needs to implement stricter deadlines and rules for assignments, this new method would never work. Everyone would just turn in everything the last day of the semester,” said Brian Summers, 10th grade History teacher. Unquestionably, even if this grading system is the new trend of modernism, TCS might not be ready to handle everything that’s tied along with it.  

These and many other concerns aren’t only present at TCS; similarly, educational institutions face negative aspects of SBG such as lack of competition and insufficient training for the real world outside the crystal ball of highschool. According to Edutopia, “[With SBG] we don’t want children to always think they can re-do things so they don’t try their best the first time. We are not preparing their children for the ‘real world.’” It is also clearly stated that this method reduces competition, and leads to top performers being rewarded equally to average students. Most importantly, high school should be the perfect preparation for teenangers facing college in the future, and SBG is not the correct way to do this. “The reality of life is that students are always going to be graded based on numbers and not specifically standards like in SBG. College isn’t going think about students ‘meeting goals’; it cares about their grades,” explains Andres Arboleda, high school precalculus teacher. In a world with exponentially increasing competition, students cannot be taught to be any less driven regarding their academic success; standard based grading might become an easy path for many individuals that don’t understand the impact their formation during high school has on their near future.

Needless to say, students are the body at TCS that would be affected the most if this method is actually implemented; yet ironically, they are the ones most against it. As stated previously, top academic performers would experience a lower recognition that they already do, and as explained by Manuela Betancourt, top of her junior class, “I think this is an if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it type of situation. It would end up negatively affecting those who actually care about their performance in school.”

 The school has failed to explain concrete reasoning to why this method might actually be positive, and it is clearly portrayed by day to day actions that TCS is not ready for a radical change such as this one. If academic success truly is the goal expected, the school should understand that SBG would only create a less competitive and rigorous environment, along with a radical change that would only discourage already careless students.

 

Works Cited:

Work, Josh. “3 Peaks and 3 Pits of Standards-Based Grading.” Edutopia, 4 Dec. 2014, www.edutopia.org/blog/peaks-pits-standards-based-grading-josh-work.

 

 

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