Proficiency Scales, Standards… Can We Just Go Back to Regular Grading Please?

Emma Wells, Contributing Reporter

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At Linn Mar High School, standards have become a dreaded thing for both students and teachers. Rarely does using a standard in a class make sense. For most classes there are far too many subjects covered in class, so it is almost impossible to set a standard grade for everything.

Last semester I asked many of my fellow classmates about this issue and every single one said something along the lines of, “Well, they work pretty well for my foreign language class, but otherwise I see no point in them.”

Others also said that they had concerns in regard to what colleges would think about them. Would GPA’s be negatively affected if all a student received was 3’s even though that is the score meaning “proficient”?  Will college admissions officers know that a student must go above and beyond the already assigned work to achieve a 100 percent (or a 4) and that students will not be taught the last 10 percent or level 4 part of his or her grade? Will they understand that we must teach ourselves additional content with the time we are already supposed to be using for the actual assignments, while still being involved in clubs and sports? And, of course, it is already very hard to get into prestigious schools where you must also have many other leadership opportunities and must be involved in those clubs and sports as well.

Does the school board want us to use more of our time for studying useless information instead of spending time doing homework or being involved in different activities? How will Linn-Mar students stand out to colleges if we are scaled on a completely different scale from most other schools? The answer is, we won’t.

Many teachers also disagree with this system, math teachers in particular. How will students go above and beyond for a math class, by teaching themselves new formulas? If they miss the level one questions but understand the level four, how does it make sense that they receive a one? They understand the hardest material learned but maybe they just made a tiny mistake, and miss the level one. Of course, then they have the opportunity to redo the standard, but only up to a level 3! What part of this makes sense?

Consider all those kids that have tried hard since the beginning of high school to achieve that 4.0 only to then have it be taken away for some other grading system that no one has really explained and that no student asked for or wanted? Why?

These important matters that could literally change our futures are being decided for us by a group of school board members that do not even have student input on their decisions. How in the world do they think it is okay to force this onto literally two thousand kids and their teachers without any say on whether or not the students are okay with the new method of learning and grading?

This cannot be how our whole grading system changes. Students need a voice to help decide our futures. A group of middle-aged adults does not always know what’s best for high school students. They do not know what it’s really like.