New zero policy takes over


Janie Akers, Editor-in-Chief

Anyone involved with NC, whether they be a student, parent or staff member, knows that this year has brought many changes. Between new social and academic policies, construction and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021-22 school year has already proven to be different from those prior.

    One significant change is the new middle and high school district-wide grading policy. It states that a student cannot receive less than 50% on any assignment, quiz or test. So even if a student gets less than half of the questions right on an assignment, they will receive a 50 percent as their score in Skyward.

    This new policy is bound to cause a change in students’ attitudes and behaviors as the school year goes on. When one knows a 50 percent is the lowest possible grade, why worry about doing well on smaller assignments at all? Or any assignments for that matter? Students will still get 50 percent of the credit even for leaving something completely blank.

    Last school year, there were multiple credit recovery weeks where teachers would provide students with a “grace period” to turn in late assignments, redo work that students were not happy with and sometimes even receive extra credit through new assignments explicitly created for credit recovery. This policy was because of the high number of students failing classes last year, which we owe to virtual and hybrid schooling.

    The credit recovery periods drew mixed feelings from my teachers last year. I remember some liked the idea of giving students a second chance to bring up their grades, while other teachers felt like giving out credit recovery material was unnecessary and that students who had not been keeping up with their work should not have a chance to get points back.

    I have not heard about whether or not credit recovery will be happening again this year because all of the focus in my classes has been on the new 50 percent policy. However, considering the mixed reviews from credit recovery last year, I can only imagine how teachers would react to this year’s grading adjustments.

    I genuinely believe that there are pros and cons to the new protocol. On the one hand, learning is not all about grades, and grades do not always reflect how a student understands the material in a class. Additionally, many students do not have the appropriate home environment to maintain the highest possible grades all the time, making the 50 percent rule a relief.

However, I feel as though this new policy compromises the integrity of the grading system, potentially devaluing North Central’s academic reputation. The bar is being lowered, and I’m not necessarily sure if it needs to be.

    It is too early in the year to see how the new grading system truly will play out, but let’s hope that this decision will improve the performance of Washington Township middle and high school students rather than hurt them. I, along with others, am curiously waiting to see what effects “the new zero” will have.