How numerical averages and annualization impact this year’s report cards

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Earlier today, students received second marking period report cards, which contained numerical averages for the first time this year. The first marking period provided students with letter-based progress reports. Unlike the past two school years, students will work on maintaining this numerical average all the way until June, as courses are now annualized.

Last year, grades were semester-based; in other words, grades reset for the second semester. At the end of the year, students received two separate averages on their transcript — one for fall semester and one for spring. 

The annualized system is a cumulative process in which students are graded for the entire year instead of per semester. Assistant Principal Veronica York said that according to data reviewed by a “full school committee,” annualization impacts students positively. She said, “There are students who by earning mastery at the end of the year then pass the course.”

Students express differing perspectives on the change; while some prefer semester-based, others like annualization better. 

Sophomore Tolu Oyeleye said she prefers the annualized system. “It gives students multiple chances to bring up their grades throughout the year. If during semester one they are going through something and they’re not doing so well during the first marking period, they can always redeem themselves because their grades are annualized,” she said. 

On the other hand, Junior Reah Joby said, “I think it’s better to know your grades semester by semester so you know where you are improving and where you are lacking. With this information, you could plan ahead for the next semester and come up with how you can fix it.”

Freshman Jade Deen said, “I prefer the semester based grade better. The reason is that when my grade restarts it’s like a fresh new start.” 

Though students may have differing opinions on semester grading versus annualized grading, most appeared to agree that numerical grades are more helpful than the letter grades given during the first marking period. The first marking period report cards provided students with grades of ME, MA, MT, MP, or MB. ME represents “exceeding expectations” and MB represents “below standards. The other grades represent the categories in between those two ends of the spectrum.

Sophomore Eleni Tsiouris said, “number grades give us a chance to see our final average and set goals for the next marking period so we can improve said average. The letter grades are a little unclear, and I remember being confused about my scores as a freshman because I had no idea what these letters stood for.”

Photo by Adam Sayah