The New Math Grading System Is Changing The Way Students Learn

Bella DeCrescenzo, Writer

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The Franklin High School’s Math Department created a Standards-Based Grading system that is changing the focus of many math classes throughout FHS. Over the past couple of years, the Math Department has noticed many flaws in the traditional grading system. They concluded that these flaws needed to be fixed as soon as possible. 

The Math Department noticed that students were cramming to learn all of the material that they needed to know right before a test. This means that kids were learning as much information as possible only to forget it soon after the test was taken. 

The Math Department also noticed that homework was not helping kids with their understanding of the material because students were rushing to get the answers down instead of doing the work to practice the skill. It was also noticed that assessments and reviewing periods were wasting too much valuable learning time throughout the classrooms. 

The Math Department decided that these flaws needed to be fixed, so they created a Standards-Based Grading system. This system includes having small tests called micro-assessments twice every cycle which will test the students growth on a topic over time. 

The students will not know what is going to be on the micro-assessment which makes cramming impossible. These micro-assessments will also test the students on a standard repeatedly so as time goes on, they are still being tested on things that they learned in the beginning of the year. 

The micro-assessments will be averaged together for a final grade every quarter which allows the students final grades to be more accurate and reflect their understanding of each topic.

Franklin High School math teacher, Mr. Szymeczko, said that while he is a fan of the new grading system, he thinks it will take some time for the students to get used to this new way of testing. 

“I don’t think I’m going to see improvement until about halfway through the second quarter when students start to figure out that the game is to know everything,” said Mr. Szymeczko. 

While this new system might seem extreme and sudden to some, the Franklin High School’s Math Department has been discussing how to accurately grade their students for the past two years. 

Mr. Szymeczko said that the department began the evolution of the new grading system with allowing retakes on assessments, until they realized that retakes were not conducive to the students learning. 

“We determined that retakes don’t help with retention,” said Mr. Szymeczko. 

This led to the department deciding that students should be provided with multiple opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of each topic through the very frequent micro assessments. 

However, Freshman Geometry student, Olivia Reagan, said that she thinks this new grading system is very challenging.

“It puts a lot of unnecessary stress on the students,” Reagan said. 

She also said that people often find themselves more stressed out over the unknown topics of the micro-assessments than about tests in the previous grading system. 

These assessments, Reagan said, are so frequent and as the year progresses, it is getting harder and harder to be able to retain all of the information.

“I find it hard to have these micro assessments so often and have to constantly be studying and constantly know what I’m doing,” she said. 

The classes being taught with this new grading system are doing as much as they can now to prepare for the inevitably challenging micro-assessments that are going to continue throughout the year. 

There is a clear divide between the people who like and dislike this grading system. Both sides of this topic continue to discuss if the system is truly helping the students retain what they are learning.

Members of the Franklin High School community are trying to decide if this new grading system will prepare its students for success, or leave them lost and confused as the year progresses.

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