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PINEWOOD INSTITUTES NEW GRADING CHANGES

MAXINE MARCUS
STAFF WRITER

   Since school has begun this year, the changes made to Veracross have resulted in a variety of passionate discussions among students and teachers. Pinewood School has attempted a new system in order to lower the amount of stress among students. Silicon Valley is an area in the United States with one of the highest stress rates. Pinewood is looking to counteract the culture of being “grade obsessive” by making an active change in the school’s grading system.

Instead of having class grades always available for viewing, Pinewood students can now only view their class grades on Monday afternoons. Many students are opposed to this new development due to the uncertainty that comes with being unaware of how their grades in class are affecting their overall GPA. Faculty are attempting to help students understand why these decisions have been made. For example, in her D period psychology class, school counselor Tina Maier and her students spent an hour discussing the change. Maier helped the students understand why such changes were implemented.

Principal Mark Gardner also helped explain the situation.

“We decided on making the time period a week for showing grades because we felt like this would still give students the opportunity to fix their grades if there was something that needed to change. Students would continuously obsess over their grades last year, and we hope this change will release some of that obsession,” said Gardner.

Students are divided on the issue. Several students dissatisfied with the new change shared their viewpoints on this.

“I think the idea for this new grade system stemmed from the right place, but the result of it is that the students are just more stressed. The issue of high anxiety is generated from the impossibly high college expectations and our society’s demand to keep improving ourselves. Every year, colleges raise their standards, and every year, more people meet those standards. The importance of grades has been repeatedly implemented in the brains of Pinewood students, and hiding grades isn’t going to solve this problem,” an anonymous senior at Pinewood School said.

“I think it makes sense on a school wide level to make these changes, although what this comes down to is the community as a whole versus the individual. For juniors and seniors, these grades are the most important. We need to be able to have access to the hard facts of our grades so that we can put ourselves in position. We go to a college prep school, so this feels a bit like sabotage in a way,” another Pinewood senior said.

Some students in support of these changes have also shared their views.

“I agree with the Veracross changes because grades are not always an accurate reflection of performance,” an anonymous sophomore said.

However, Gardner does see the opposing side’s argument.

“I do see what the students are saying when they are expressing that this adds more stress. My thought is that if we do this for three weeks to a month, we will be able to see if this makes the students more stressed or if this does help get them to relax,” said Gardner.

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