New Semester Brings New Grading Scale

Clinton has recently announced some changes to how assignments are graded and factored into overall course averages.

As of this semester, 11th grade courses are weighted with Course Outcomes — exams, 

papers, completed work — counting for 90 percent of high school students’ grades and hawk habits counting for the remaining 10 percent. Ninth and tenth grade classes already used this formula.

Previously, 11th grade teachers could use whatever weighting worked best for their individual classes.

Hawk Hhabits are for smaller assignments where students show good habits such as responsibility or engagement. For example, daily homework completion or class participation could be counted towards hawk habits. Teachers decide for their individual classes what counts towards Ccourse Ooutcomes or hawk habits.

One other grading change is a shift for middle school students from a 1-4 to 1-7 grading scale. According to assistant principal and upper grades director Ms. Cheryl Goett, this was done so that “by the time the kids get to the high school, for the ones that stay, 1-7 will make complete sense to them.”

The changes were decided by a committee of upper and lower grades teachers. TheyThe changes were implemented starting this semester because, as Ms. Goett explained, the new term acted as a “clear mark in the year when we can make a change.”

Upper grades biology teacher Ms. Katie Jungers remarked about the new 90/10 weighting, “What I like is that we’re all using the same set-up in the gradebook.”

Mr. Eric Stanton, upper grades history teacher, believes that the old system may have been a better fit for IB classes. He explained, “There are multiple different pieces to each IB course and those pieces are not the same from one class to another. I feel like in the old system teachers had a little bit more discretion in how to divide out the different outcomes that we looked at.”

Stanton added that teachers put thought into how to weight their classes prior to the change. He said, “It wasn’t just like teachers threw a dart at a dartboard and like, ‘oh, I’ll just do this!’”

Upper grades English teacher Ms. Heather Nordstrom worked around the 90/10 system by breaking up the 90 percent Ccourse Ooutcomes weighting into four smaller groups, for each of the four IB learning outcomes for her class. She did this to show students how the IB breaks down and weighs everythingits outcomes, and for students to clearly see which outcomes they need to work on. Ms. Nordstrom explained, “If you’re doing really stellar with learning outcome 2, but learning outcome 3 you see an 80 and not a 95, you know what you need to work on.”

Ms. Jungers said she too was at first unsure of how to accommodate the new 90/10 system but, “Now that we’ve kind of had some time to think about it, I think a lot of teachers are being really creative and were able to adjust the scale to their classes. I actually think there’s a lot more flexibility in it than we realized in the beginning.”


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