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The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

Schoolwide grading policy updated to include revision guidelines

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The THHS School Wide Grading Policy adds a new section.
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This year, the Townsend Harris High School “School Wide Grading Policy” document has a new section on revision, which indicates that all departments will offer ways for students to revise work. The policy document pledges that “all departments are committed to ensuring that one bad day does not harm a student’s overall course performance.”

According to the document, the specifics of how revision will factor into courses will differ for each department and will be based on teacher preference.

“We established [the changes] as a school-wide policy because we want students to adopt a growth mindset, that they can still master topics they didn’t succeed in at first,” said math teacher Abid Choudhury. “I don’t offer extra credit, but I do allow students to revise their tests for credit. The implementation of the new policy depends on [each individual] class and department.”

While this year’s document includes the new statement on revision, the way that it will unfold across the school year and within each course is still an ongoing conversation within departments.

Assistant Principal Ellen Fee said, “We are working this year to try something different and new with our policy… we look forward to the time when a revision policy lives in each of our departments in a similar way.”

Assistant Principal of Humanities Rafal Olechowksi said he offers revision through the drafting and redrafting of student writing. He said he prefers this over quizzes, as he believes students are more motivated “to study out of fear of not getting into Harvard rather than curiosity.”

“I think that everyone has a different approach to these revisions and it is a changing approach which is then tweaked to ensure the success of the student,” said chemistry teacher Joel Heitman.

Mr. Choudhury said, “I want students to have the opportunity to try again and still care about learning the material even after the test is over and a new topic begins… [hopefully now] when students don’t do well on a test, they won’t give up [but will] try to do better next semester or on the next test.”

Principal Brian Condon and the THHS administration met with a group of instructional lead teachers, including Mr. Choudhury, Ms. Duffy, Mr. Sweeney, Mr. Dunbar, Ms. Cooper, Mr. Heitman, and Ms. Frank, who helped devise the grading policy change. These teachers then met with the faculty in their respective departments to discuss and solidify their plans for changes, and each department developed a grading policy unique to their specific choices and beliefs.

“All teachers generally have an idea of grading which is mandated and similar, but within their departments, they work on it to see what best fits them and their students,” said Mr. Olechowski. “Grading as a concept is very complicated, it is definitely not perfect and probably cannot ever be completely perfect. Different people in different departments in different schools in different districts will all grade in their own way.”

Mr. Heitman’s revision policy, for instance, differs from some of the other typical test corrections that classes offer. “If a student wants to do revisions and get to what is called a ‘mastery’ of a topic, then they will come and meet for extra help… we sit and go over the work, and when the student and myself feel that they reached an understanding they did not previously possess, I give them another test,” he said.

“I think the new policy is a great thing since it allows me to fix my mistakes and learn for future reference,” said senior Jie Xuan Tang.

“I wish [the new grading policy] was a thing we had before,” said sophomore Vaibhvi Patel. “ I believe it gives a chance for the people who know how to do the [assessment questions] to have another chance to get credit. To be honest, though, I believe they still have room for improvement, especially in the percentage breakdowns for classwork, homework, and tests of each class.”

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About the Contributors
Faiza Tasnim, News Editor
Faiza is a senior at Townsend Harris High School. She loves to listen to podcasts, read books, watch anime, and practice learning her native language. She also loves to watch true crime documentaries and be scared afterward.
Diana Piergrossi, News Editor
Diana is a senior at Townsend Harris High School. Her favorite subjects in school are English and science, and she enjoys reading, writing, photography, traveling, and baking. She has also been playing soccer for ten years and likes volleyball and running.
Nilla Wahab, News Editor
Nilla is a senior at Townsend Harris High School. She is excitedly entering her second year as an editor for The Classic. In her free time, she is an avid fantasy reader and enjoys trying out new pastry recipes.
Defne Kaygisiz, News Copy Editor
Defne is a junior at Townsend Harris High School. She likes reading depressing books, watching gloomy movies, and listening to music. Her favorite artist is currently Patti Smith and her favorite movie is Submarine. She has a tea addiction and likes cats.
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