Weight policy for grades changes for new school year

The grade weights of each assignment in each class is avaliable on the parent portal. Graphic by: Mary Whitfill

The grade weight of each assignment in each class is avaliable on the parent portal. (Graphic by Mary Whitfill)

 By Mary Whitfill

Staff Writer

Introducing the new school year means meeting new teachers, new friends and learning new school policies. Almost every year, CHS updates its policies in hopes to better the school.

This year, the system of weighting grades varies from class to class. The specific grade weights of each department will be released in the student handbook on Tuesday. The assistant principals, principal and district administration have all decided that this is in the best interest of the school.

“We want to test on what the students know and have learned, more than what they have just memorized,” Principal Brad Hunt said.

Each department has a different grade weight because they test in different ways. For example, science classes have to have a place in the system to include hands-on labs, while other classes do not. While each of the different departments is making modifications, the foreign language department is changing the most because of the oral assessments.

“The grading of the whole department has been changed,” Spanish teacher Malinda Seger said. “The old system was more effective.”

Teachers and students alike are concerned about what this will do to grades. Because the new weights have not yet been released, students do not know if they will be expected to perform better on tests or projects. For most students, the two are not similar but in fact very different forms of assessment.

“I do better on tests, because I am better at learning facts than being creative,” sophomore Matthew Traywick said.

With the new policy in place, it is hard to predict whether or not student’s grades will thrive or suffer. It has yet to be determined if the new change is permanent, although district administration believes that it is best for CHS.

“Hopefully the change will be better for most students, but if the grades go down, we will reevaluate the policy,” Hunt said. “Coppell teachers want the best for their students.”

The new policy was taken from the studies and reports of Rick Stiggens, an expert on education who founded the ETS Assessment Training Institute and teaches new ways to asses students. Stiggens believes that student should be told ahead of time exactly what they are expected to know, and what educational targets they are supposed to hit.

“We want to expand assessments and make sure things are kept at a rigorous level for students,” Hunt said.

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