The following is the first segment in a series meant to explore the 80/20 grading policy at Mead High School. Stay tuned for more installments.
When the topic of MHS’ grading policy comes up, reactions vary. Some claim that it improves students’ performance. Others disagree. This particular system has been in place since the 2016 school year.
The policy is as follows: Learning activities are 20 percent of a student’s final grade, also known as formative assessments. The formative assessments are given by teachers in order to check and see if students have done what they have asked them to do, like homework and projects. These lead into summative assessments. Summative assessments are mostly exams, tests, and quizzes.
On Thursday, October 5th, Principal Rachael Ayers was interviewed about why she decided to put the 80-20 grading policy in place. She believes that “When you go to a college environment, a lot of times college classes have three summative assessments in an entire semester. And that’s what you get graded on. So, if you fail those assessments it is very very costly. And so we’re trying to… [make it so that] kids in every classroom can expect the same kind of setup.”
As an administrator, her goal is “to help [students] be successful after high school”. She finds it easier to have a standard policy so that students “don’t have to manage 8 different teachers’ different philosophies on grading.” Students could find it helpful because they wouldn’t have to figure out the setup of each classroom, since all of the grades in the gradebook are put in and evaluated in the same way.
This policy was created as an attempt to make grading uniform and to also prepare students for college. Although some students are planning on attending a college, in or out of state, not all graduates are going to continue on with their education.
Next week, an additional segment will be published that explores students’ reactions to the 80-20 policy.