In a typical school year at Bellwood-Antis, all students would be taking a midterm and a final exam worth 10% of a their final grade.
However, like everything else this school year, COVID-19 has changed the way Bellwood is administering these exams.
Usually around this time, students would be starting to gather their notes and make quizlets in preparation for their midterm exam. However, this year teachers are not required to give students a midterm or final.
The manner in which grading is usually done has changing as well. Now, instead of having the midterm and final exams each being an overall 10% of a students’ grade, each marking period is worth 25% of the final grade.
Mrs, Dawn Frank, who teaches higher level math classes, expressed her opinion on this change by saying, “I think it is a good decision to change the midterm/final grading for this year. The various learning platforms make it difficult to guarantee that all students had an equitable learning environment.”
The reason for this change was due to two major factors: time and academic integrity. Testing takes a lot of time and planning and that time would be better used by students and teachers to continue with the curriculum. Also, following the switch to virtual learning, there are concerns about academic integrity and dedication to learning online.
Mrs. Frank is still planning on testing her calculus and possibly advanced math class. She explained, “timing will play a big part in my decision. While virtual, it is difficult to assess and ensure that the work is being done with a fair and honest representation of what the student knows.”
One concern about this new grading system is how it will affect students’ GPAs, class ranks, and honor roll status. The new grading system will alter how the final course grade is calculated; however, the weighing of courses will not be impacted.
Bellwood-Antis School district put out a statement with the grading expectations for this year saying, “This change is unlikely to lower any opportunity to achieve honor roll status or negatively impact GPA or class rank.”
Because Bellwood has numerous CHS courses that need to meet requirements of the colleges or universities that they are tied to, students in those courses will still be completing the requirements for those schools. For some, this may still mean taking a midterm and final. However, if a teacher still wishes to administer a midterm or final exam, they are able to do so, but it will be graded for the marking period it is tied to.
As the COVID-19 pandemic is still prevalent, we can only assume that nothing will go back to normal anytime soon and we will continue to live in this time of virtual learning. However, during these unusual academic circumstances, it is a relief to students as well as teachers that midterms and finals are not a requirement this school year.