HHS Teachers Thoughts on the Grading Policy

HHS Teachers Thoughts on the Grading Policy

Mason Lamb, Staff Writer

The Loudoun County Public Schools grading policies is a hot topic. The introduction of the new grading policy was introduced to schools in the 2021-22 school year. There are positive and negative points made about the new policy, but it is mostly negative. However, multiple students have expressed positive reactions to the new policy, compared to teachers, who have expressed more negative reactions.


The new grading policy includes Formatives, Minor Summatives and Major Summatives. Formatives are not worth any points, and are assigned as homework, or classwork. Minor Summatives are usually worth a variation of points, and are not retakeable. 


There are positives that come with the formative and summative policy. Mrs. Coy, a sign language teacher at Heritage thinks, “If the formatives are used correctly, they can be very useful. I like the idea of formative assessments, as they give students a chance to demonstrate mastery, and receive immediate feedback before taking a major summative assessment.”


However, on the other hand, there are negative views on the formative and summative policy. Mr. Irwin, a history and economics teacher at Heritage, thinks that formatives are not good by any means. “I don’t believe formatives and summatives should be separated. I don’t think it’s valuable for [students] to know this,” Irwin said. “Anything [students] do in class is of value, students are constantly graded on how they’re learning.”


Major Summatives are 10% or more of the quarter grade and are retakeable. The retake policy falls into the Major Summative category. Major Summatives are retakeable up to an 80% within 2 weeks of the original assessment. 


Mrs. Coy’s thoughts on the retake policy are conflicted. “I have mixed feelings about the retake policy,” Coy said. “I worry about students who demonstrate a pattern of retakes. Are they missing the basics?” Mrs. Coy also had some positive words to say about the retake policy, “I think it’s like riding a bike. If you fail the first time, you can look at what you did wrong and hop back on the bike.”


Mr Irwin had mostly negative thoughts about the retake policy. “I hate retakes, they send the wrong signal. They are only done to improve the score,” Irwin said. “Retakes actually enforce a cultural attitude on students that grades are the most important thing, and not about mastery.” Mr Irwin also pointed out that it only adds more tests and stress for students. “On average, students are taking 2 tests a week. If you’re retaking them, you’re looking at 4 to 5 tests a week. If we’re serious about well-being, then why would we test them more then we have to,” said Irwin. “The conversation is just about the number, not the skill. It is a false sense of security.”


Retakes, although helpful in the short term, can be equally as hurtful in the long term with the amount of stress, and some students only do it to get the score and not learn the material. Retakes can also be used to continue to try to master the material if used correctly. With both major positives and negatives, the debate will never end.