Policy Changes Prevent PotentialThursday, October 02, 2008 By Pitch Opinion
Over the last few years the MCPS grading policy has undergone numerous changes. A few years ago, WJ experienced these changes when we were chosen to pilot the new grading policy. The following year, changes were made to the reassessment policy and the grade rounding policy. This year, our grades will be sorted into summative, formative and work for completion categories. Each year the system grows more and more complex, all in the name of the county’s goal to make all grades uniform. Making grades across the county consistent is an admirable goal. All students who are taking the same courses should be graded equally and fairly. However, radical and constant changes rob any policy chance for success. If at the beginning of each school year teachers and students alike are baffled by a new grading policy, there is no way to determine how effective a policy actually is. The county should refrain from changing the policy for at least one year after implementing new parts in order to understand and study how valuable a new policy is. After teachers and students adapt to it, the county could easily develop an ideal grading policy that incorporates all of the best attributes of the several policies we have had over past years. It may take longer to develop a new and improved policy, but students and teachers would learn to use and understand the new system with the extra time given to use it. The county should collect firsthand information and ideas from students, parents and teachers during this process. Also, MCPS should ask for more teacher input before formulating upcoming changes in the policy and better inform teachers of the new system to avoid confusion at the start of the school year. Even though it is imperative that the county improve the grading policy, the course we are taking now is ineffective. More time is necessary in experimenting with policies if we want to develop a fair, balanced and uniform grading policy for MCPS.