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Oct. 18, 2006

Flaws revealed in grading and reporting policy

by Ethan Kuhnhenn, Online Managing Editor
In a survey of Montgomery County teachers and students, MCPS's Department of Shared Accountability (DSA) found that, three years after the Board of Education implemented the county's current grading and reporting policy, there is still widespread confusion and dissatisfaction with the policy, specifically its re-teaching and reassessing components.

The study, conducted at Paint Branch, Sherwood, Watkins Mill and Wootton high schools in winter and spring of 2006, presented mixed reviews of the grading policy, with students being the most vocal about its inefficiency.

The student respondents at the four high schools were all in 11th grade, and were generally disappointed with the grading policy and its effects on their grades.

The most striking fact that the DSA revealed was teachers' failure to implement the policy in the classroom. One third to one half of students reported that the policy was implemented in all or most of their classes. The study also revealed disparities between teacher and students' understanding of the policy, specifically when a student is eligible for reassessment.

Over 75 percent of middle and secondary school teachers expressed support for the grading policy, but 30 percent of high school teachers only ranked it as "fair." Another 14 percent ranked the policy as "poor."

The main concern from secondary teachers was the controversial reteaching and reassessing policies. Teachers were divided over the benefits of the policy, but most agreed that at some levels, students were taking advantage of the policy and were not being motivated to do their best on a test or assignment they knew could be reassessed.

The survey also revealed great inconsistency in the implementation of the policy as well as widespread confusion, from teachers, in how the policy worked. Only half of the respondents identified that only one opportunity for reassessment could be giver per assignment. Over 40 percent of teachers believed that they may offer reassessment after seeing grades from the original tests/assignments. Another 11 percent expressed the misconception that students could only reassess a task if they had received a C or lower.

On September 15th, the Board of Education met to discuss the survey's findings, but since then no public announcement regarding the policy has been issued.



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  • counter on October 18, 2006 at 4:05 PM
    Wait, if 30% of high schools ranked it as "fair" and another 14% ranked it as "poor", does that mean 56% ranked it "good" or better?

    If that is so, it seems like that means the policy isn't as bad as it sounds, if 56% think it is good and another 30% is in between.
  • Tin Tin Nguyen on October 18, 2006 at 4:37 PM
    I believe the grading policy is horible in the sense that students are not motivated to their best on a quiz because they know they vould reasses them. This is horrible THey should study for it the first time. Students are getting lazy nowadays. I myself study for numerous hours for quizzes.
  • Blazer on October 18, 2006 at 4:51 PM
    So they finally noticed.
  • Student on October 20, 2006 at 10:22 AM
    I like the idea of teachers deciding which quizzes can be reassessed after the students take the quiz. (1) It motivates the students to try on every quiz (2) The quizzes that can be reassessed are based on the fact that the class did poorly.

    To counter:
    If barely half of the county thinks the policy is "good" or better, that means there are serious problem with it. The county should aim to get at least 80% of high schools on board with the policy.
  • Areeb Quasem on October 25, 2006 at 10:38 AM
    I concur, my good buddy Tin Tin. Studying for the first quiz should be the only way to get a good grade. This reassessing nonsense has got to go, or our students will be overcome with lazyness and believe they can just retake the quiz later, after viewing its contents.
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