By EVA LIU
As second semester has kicked off, most of the teachers in the foreign language department have started to incorporate a new grading system in their Veracross grade books. This grading system is point-based, so a student’s grade will be calculated without any weighting. The sum of the points available divided by the points earned will be the student’s semester grade before Veracross takes the finals into account. Influencing the Spanish and French teachers decision to change their grading policies, math teachers Sara Dorset, Christine Walters, and Anne Bertron already use this no-scaling grading system as well. In addition, biology teacher Kim Hudson is utilizing this grading system this semester in her AP biology class, as well as some other teachers on campus.
While the foreign language teachers just implemented the no-weighting system this semester, the math teachers started to use this grading system fifteen years ago.
“I incorporated this grading system because I wanted my students to see the points of each assignment more clearly, so they know how much work they should devote to each assignment,” Walters said.
Without any weighting, the students can easily interpret how each assignment affects their semester grade. However, Walters pointed out that teachers need to carefully balance the number of tests, classwork, homework, and projects since there is no weighting in Veracross.
“I like this new system in my Spanish class because it makes everything easier for the students,” junior Angela Yao said. “I was often stressed out because if I did not do well on one test, it heavily affects my overall grade. The point-based system decreases my stress level as I prepare for a project, presentation, or a test.”
According to Walters, there are two grading systems in Veracross. Most Pinewood teachers utilize Veracross to categorize and weigh assignments, which means that a test or a project affects a student’s overall grade more than everyday homework or classwork. Some teachers, including math teacher Amarnath Santhanam, choose to weigh particular assignments. Santhanam only weighs assignments in the homework category but not the test category because homework assignments that take a longer time to finish should be weighed more heavily than the shorter assignments.