New guidelines for grading include no zeros


Antonio Maffei '20

The new grading policy includes no zeros—scores and final grades cannot be lower than 50 percent.

Joseph Zuloaga '23, Staff Reporter

New year, new changes. Archbishop Riordan High School started the second semester with another new aspect to the standards-based grading policy.

Now, 50 percent is the new 0.

In the first semester, an “I”replaced an F, and was given to students who received a grade between 0 and 59 percent. Now, starting this semester, the grading scale will start at 50.

According to Michael O’Brien, Dean of Academics, “With this new change, we are giving students the ability to show mastery in ways they were unable to before.”

In relation to the shrinking of the grading scale, O’Brien added that “students can improve their grade and the updated grade will give a more accurate representation of what they are capable of.” In addition, “teachers will not enter anything lower than 50 into the grade book on any assignment.”

The grading scale has been updated to five levels, so each letter grade is equally worth the same amount of points. In the first semester, an “I” grade was in the range of 0 to 59 percent. Now with the updated scale, the range will be 50 to 59 percent.

O’Brien said, “The purpose of shrinking the scale was to help create fairness as the percent ranges between grades are now equal.”

Mason McKee ’23 agrees with the recent change. He said, “To me, the change in the grading scale is great because it can help students a lot, especially those struggling with low scores on assessments.”

Another student, Alexander Robinson ’23, is also in favor of the change. He said, “This change is a smart decision because the student won’t feel like a complete failure when they see that they got a 0 percent on an assessment. This could make a student feel like he is below average.” To him, “getting 0 percent is like knowing 0 percent of the material of a particular course; getting a 50 percent gets you points and at least proves that you know half of the material.”

Many students are applauding the new change because it will improve their grades and there is more chance that they will pass some classes in which they were struggling before the grading change was applied.

English teacher Diana Assereto has mixed feelings towards this new change. She said, “Starting the low end of the grading scale at 50 percent makes sense because there is a big gap in the grade scale between 0 and 50; however, the new policy is unclear to students about why he earns 50 percent for not turning in an assignment or for not taking a test. While it still equates to an ‘incomplete’ it is still confusing.”

In regards to the workload for teachers, Assereto stated, “This change makes record keeping harder for teachers because we now have much more data entry for one assignment.” Ultimately, if this proves to be the best way to measure learning, she is on board.

O’Brien said more changes coming in the near future. “Next school year, students’ grades will be fully standards-based,” he added. “Student percentagescores will be reflected throughletter grades on standards rather than points given.”

This year, specific standards weren’t worth anything on an assignment; they just served as a reference point to what the final grade was based on and how it fit with the requirements for that particular course.

Assereto added, “I like standards- based grading, but I don’t like the way these grades are now reported on PowerSchool because it doesn’t accurately report what I want parents, students, and counselors to know.”

Starting next year, an “I” grade for a standard will be 50 percent, a D grade will be 65 percent, a C grade will be 75 percent, a B grade will be 85 percent and an A will be 98 percent.

O’Brien said, “I would like to say a word of appreciation for our outstanding teachers and our students during this transition. This will continue to bring positive change to our school.”