After complaints, LTHS officials change rating system

Faced with widespread opposition to a new grading system that placed less emphasis on homework and relied solely on exam results, the administration of the secondary school in the canton of Lyon is changing the grading system for the second semester .

More than 1,700 people had signed an online petition calling for LTHS to repeal the new rating system. But rather than repeal it, the administrators of LTHS decided to modify it.

The new scoring system was designed to promote fairness. However, by allowing students to rewrite an unlimited number of tests, this encouraged a cycle of repeating the tests, with students often falling behind on newer material. Other students didn’t bother to do their homework because it didn’t count towards their grade.

To address these issues, the LTHS will now require students to submit their homework before their first assessment to be eligible for retakes. Superintendent Brian Waterman announced the change at the December 20 meeting of the District 204 School Board.

“To address some of the concerns about homework motivation, students will need to submit their homework before this initial summary in order to be eligible for the retake,” Waterman said. “We will try to take the students out of the remedial cycle that was signaled last semester. “

Waterman said that in the future, teachers will be giving frequent exams, also known as “summative assessments” to measure results in a variety of ways.

“Course teams will use several types of summative assessments in calculating the grade,” Waterman said. “Presentations, quizzes, reports and lab activities, performance evaluations, trials and traditional tests can all be counted as summative evaluations. “

Waterman also said LTHS will revert to a traditional final exam schedule for the second semester. Final exams were typically not given in the first semester and through blended and virtual learning last year. Under the new policy, the decision of whether or not to give final exams will be up to teachers.

“Teachers will have the option of administering a cumulative final without prejudice or they can offer their final summative experience or students can use this exam period to take a retake,” Waterman said in a brief interview with The Landmark after the meeting.

Waterman called the changes short-term adjustments that don’t deviate the school from its goal of creating a fairer and more accurate grading system. He said administrators will analyze first semester scores in the coming weeks.

“We are always looking to update our filing practices,” Waterman said. “We’re still going to look at the data. And this semester, just by hearing the worries about the semester and honestly seeing the worries in the classroom, in particular, we recognize that this endless cycle of retakes is something our students have been on.

LTHS began to reassess its rating practices in 2017 with the goal of making them more consistent and fair. Over the past few weeks, a grade assessment team consisting of teachers, a counselor, an improvement facilitator and administrators has been reviewing the new grading system which started last year and has been completed. proposed changes that will be implemented in the second semester starting this week.

“There has been a lot of work done in a short period of time,” Waterman said.

The theory behind the new scoring system was to measure actual knowledge rather than just compliance with expectations. Homework and class participation did not affect grades.

This was an effort to promote equity, as some said that socioeconomic status affected students’ ability to complete their homework. In practice, the new policy, according to many parents, has blunted students’ motivation to study. If homework was not graded or required, many students simply decided not to do it. And if they didn’t do well on a test, they could always take it again.

At the November school board meeting, a number of parents spoke out against the grading system during the meeting’s public comment period.

Elizabeth and Braden Slezak spoke out against the new system, saying it had “serious and immediate negative impacts on our children.”

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