New Grading Alternative Appears in Select Classrooms

Morgan Bowen & Rebekah Seay

The grading scale is not something
that has to be set in stone within a
classroom. In fact, many teachers find
it helpful to use alternatives to the
standard grading scale. These grading
alternatives give students a chance to
receive higher grades, and in some
cases, also receive a deeper understanding
of the subject they were
tested on. Teachers such as Dan Bartels,
Kari Phlegar and Brian Letourneau
have added their own touches
to their grading systems in an attempt
to think outside of the box when it
comes to learning and testing.
There are a variety of possibilities
when it comes to grading alternatives.
An example of one of these alternatives
is a curve that can be offered by
the instructor in order to raise the
average grades of students. There are
many different types of curves, but
one of the most popular at Hanover
high school seems to be the square
root curve. This allows for the students
of these teachers to turn in their
best work.
Mr. Bartels is one of these teachers
who provides his students with a
square root curve. This curve is relatively
simplistic. For this method, the
square root of the grade is taken and
multiplied by ten. As grades get closer
to a perfect score, the curve gets
smaller and smaller.
Similar to Bartels’s grading, AP
Chemistry teacher, Mrs. Phlegar also
uses the square root curve. However,
unlike Bartels, she requires that her
students rework the questions that
they got wrong in order to better understand
their mistakes.
“Instead of just giving them the
square root curve, they have to earn
the curve by doing corrections to any
questions they missed and provide
an explanation as to why the right
answer is correct,” said Phlegar, “It
gives the students an opportunity
to improve
their grade and gives
them the adjustment time
they need before their test
score scares them out of the
course.”
“I’m glad she has the curve.
It brings my grade up,” junior
Georgia Eaves, one of Phlegar’s
students, said.
“This was my first time using it and
I’m not sure if it’s something I’m going
to offer every time. I’m still working
out the kinks,” Phlegar said.
Mr. Letourneau, a history teacher,
chooses to aid his students by giving
them the opportunity to make up
tests.
“I made the decision to let my students
take retake tests after some
summer reading I had done. However,
only about 10% of my students
actually attempt the retakes.”
While not many students
take advantage of this opportunity,
junior Paige
Lambert is one of the
students who does.
“I think it’s
a great opportunity
because
if you
can bump up your grade
there’s no reason not to do it,”
Lambert said.
Another student who has attempted
a retake is junior Shelby Ireland.
“I wasn’t prepared for the retake
tests so I think if I were more prepared
it would’ve gone better. It’s
definitely useful if you are willing to
prepare yourself,” Ireland said.
Both Lambert and Ireland have
completed one makeup test.
“I didn’t get a higher score because
it was a lot more difficult,” Lambert
said.
On the other hand, Ireland said, “I
wouldn’t say they’re harder, the AP
questions are directly from the book
so they’re different from the tests he
normally gives. It only raised [my
score] by 2%.”
Overall, the grading system can easily
be changed to benefit the teachers
and students within the classroom.
Using these grading alternatives can
help students comprehend the subject
matter and provides an improvement
from the ordinary grading scale.

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Author: The Hawk Eye

Hanover High School, Mechanicsville, Virginia The Hawk Eye Student Newspaper thehawkeye@hcps.us

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