Staff outline grading policies amid COVID-19

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Headmaster Anthony Meyer outlined the possible grading scenarios in the table above.

In this new learning environment, it can be easy to stress over grades and the uncertainty of how transcripts are going to look this year. However, the intent behind all of the policies and guidelines that have been put in place is to help students.

Headmaster Anthony Meyer published a policy establishing how teachers will be accounting for the unofficial grades from quarter three prior to the closure of school.

“Teachers will consider major assignment and assessment grades from January 31 to March 12, or permissible make-up work for this period submitted after March 12, in the student’s final grade, if helps the student’s overall grade,” Meyer wrote.

According to the Dean of Student Support Systems Brian Poon and Associate Dean Melanee Alexander, grades are being accounted for on a “do no harm” policy, and are meant to help students who were ahead without harming students who were behind.

“I think one of the things we’re trying to do is support kids that were doing well and, for those that didn’t have time to raise their third quarter grade, not penalize ,” Poon said.

Poon said that though the “do no harm” policy has been established by the administration, ultimately final grades are determined by teachers.

“What we’re trying to do is provide guidelines and then also recognize that there was massive subjectivity in grades going into it,” Poon said. “I think the reality is that while certain departments have certain guidelines around how they grade, it is not school policy to tell teachers how to grade.”

As for the remote learning work, Alexander said that there are certain requirements students must meet in order to pass.

“In order to pass, students one, complete 70% of the total amount of assignments given; two, respond to email and canvas messages, some of which are “how are you doing?”; three, attend some Zoom meetings – doesn’t have to be all; and four, submit work that demonstrates that effort has gone into the assignment,” Alexander said.

Poon explained the benefit of this pass/fail learning environment, saying that it is giving students a lifeline they did not have before.

“I think the reality is that if you had a 10/100 quarter one, a 10/100 quarter two, and a 10/100 up until March 12 there’s no way that from March 12 to the end of the year you could mathematically pass,” Poon said. “In our new academic environment, we’re saying that you can pass if you complete 70% of the work.”

Overall, Poon shared that he hopes students will not stress too much over grades and will reach out when they need help, and even when they do not.

“I really, really encourage students to reach out,” Poon said. “Being connected to your teachers even just to write ‘I am struggling with this’ or to your guidance counselors . Reaching out and having connectivity is absolutely fundamental to our personal well-being.”