Teachers on Point Basis

Lucy Wright, Student Life Editor

All right, let’s be honest here. How many of us have looked at our grades on Skyward and had a mini heart-attack when you realize your grade went from an A to a C overnight? Most of us have, and I’m about to explain to you why, but first let’s get this out of the way: typically teachers grade on either a point-by-point basis, or they grade with a weighted system. Don’t worry if you don’t know what in the world that even means, it will be explained later.
If you look at your grades on Skyward, you’ll notice that some classes, under each assignment type heading, there will be something like this: Tests (weighted at 35.00%, adjusted to 57.43%), which means that if all your grades were put in right away, the test portion of it would be worth 35% of your overall grade for that class. Weird, right? Well, those numbers can very well determine the difference from an A to an F. For example, say it’s the beginning of the semester, and you have ten different assignments already in the gradebook for one class, and you have an A. Then, you take a test, and you don’t do so hot. And then your grade drops, like really drops. So why does it do that, exactly?
So you check Skyward, and you might notice that under the Test heading, it says (weighted at 75.00%), where before the test, it had said (weighted at 75.00%, adjusted to 0.00%). This means that when you hadn’t had any tests in the gradebook, they couldn’t be worth that 75% of your overall grade, so the only thing counting for your grade was the assignments. Then, when you take the test, that test suddenly accounts for 75% of your grade, and if you fail, well… you get my point.
Now, let’s take a look at what grading on a points-only system looks like. With a points-only system, instead of weighting a certain assignment/test type more, the teachers simply make the more important assignments worth more points. So, take our scenario from earlier, but take out all the funky weighted parts, and you just have ten assignments in the grade book, and let’s say that all those assignments were worth ten points each. Then, when you go to take this test, the test is worth 100 points. So, instead of the tests and assignments all being worth ten points, and then being in weighted categories, you just have some assignments worth more points than others.
Now that you know more about some different grading systems, you’ve got to decide whether or not YOU think that all teachers should be required to grade using the same system. Or whether or not they should be required to use a weighted system or a point-by-point system. I personally would prefer teachers grading using only a point-based system, because that’s easier for me to understand, and it’s also much easier to get your grade back up after a test that you maybe didn’t study for. Obviously, it depends on the person, but I definitely think it would be so much better, and we’d all be on the same page.