In 2017 the middle school altered their grading system from using letter grades to assessing students’ work using standards, and then converted those standards assessments to a letter grade for the report card. along with letter grades. When this change took place, a student who was “Meeting” all of the standards would earn the equivalent of an A- for a letter grade. We believe that as the Middle School continues to use this system involving rubric that a meeting should correlate into an A rather than an A-.
Currently, work completed by students in the middle school is graded on a rubric using four different standards: beginning, progressing, meeting and extending. Today many students feel pressured to receive meetings as an A is the grade that most students are satisfied with. The names of the standards guide students to understand where they are in their work in regards to the rubric. For example, if a student receives a progressing it is clear that they have not yet developed a full understanding for that specific topic but are progressively creating a better understanding. When a student receives a beginning they often find themselves struggling with their work. The only way for a student to receive an A or an A+ is if they receive an extending on multiple standards, these students have frequently developed a full understanding for the topic and go beyond expectations in regards to their school work.
Whilst there are many benefits to using this system in replacement of grading with standard letter grades, there are flaws to this system. As mentioned before, a meeting on the rubric correlates into an A- and a meeting is the standard grade that many students set for themselves. Although many students are satisfied with receiving an A-, some shoot higher and wish to receive higher grades such as an A or an A+. The only way that a student can receive this grade is by getting an extending. The problem that stands is extending is not an option on some of the rubrics used for many assignments, tests, or other projects. Therefore, students can only receive extending on some occasions meaning that the highest grade that students can receive at times is an A-.
We believe that a meeting should correlate into A so that students are able to receive a grade that levels out an A- and an A+ when an extending is not an option on the rubric. Many students throughout the middle school agree with this as well. Eighth grade student, Danielle Hajjar says “I feel that extendings are hard to get, so if everyone is just getting meetings or progressings then it is impossible to get an A. It’s unfair that if you get a progressing and a meeting, it would change the grade drastically due to what each standard stands for.” After interviewing students in other grades it is obvious that there are mutual feelings about this specific topic. Seventh grade student Emma Talit shares her thoughts by saying “I think that the system should change so that a meeting is an A because some people feel more satisfied with themselves if they get higher grades and meeting is the grade that we are expected to receive and some students feel disappointed with the result of an A- rather than an A.”
Not only have we heard this from students through their words but others have began to take action to make a change. Seventh grade student Rachel Furst has created a petition and sent it out to all students in the middle school about how the system should be altered so that a meeting would be an A. With nearly 140 student signatures it is clear that this change in the system is something that it important to the Middle School and is something that many students hope that their strong opinions and thoughts are viewed and considered by the Middle School and that the change of which they are expecting is put into place.
In regards to the opinions of students and our own, we believe that the grading system should be changed so that a meeting on the rubric will correlate into an A in letter grades rather than an A-.