After a semester of grading pilots, changes are being made

Javen Oswald, Opinions Editor

The two grading systems Naperville Central piloted last semester saw changes at the beginning of the spring semester. The changes come after teacher and student feedback, said Dr. Steve Jeretina, Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction. Three classes also joined the 4-point grading scale pilot, and 14 joined the 50% floor.

Teachers using the 50% floor can now assign a grade of “no evidence” which corresponds with a 0% in the grade book. Classes piloting the standards-based grading scale are now encouraged to develop rubrics that show a student’s level of proficiency rather than a percentage. 

Jeretina was part of the process of implementing these changes.

“We collected a lot of feedback at the end of November and beginning of December to gauge where students and teachers were at with things,” Jeretina said. “We found that the student response was largely favorable.”

Currently, Infinite Campus requires each competency level to correspond to a percentage, Jeretina said. This means each number on a 4-point or 5-point scale must be converted into a percentage grade.

“[A standards-based grading method] still presents a better option than the current reality of some of the things happening on a 100-point scale,” Jeretina said. “We’re giving some teams some latitude with that. However, the intent is for teams to communicate any changes with students and with families so that they know going into the new semester that there may have been some tweaks in the rationale behind it.”

English department chair Mike Doman participated in the 5-point standards-based grading pilot during the fall semester and is now adapting to the changes this semester.

“We adjusted it so that there are two categories for each [standard]: high meets, meets, low meets, and [separated] does not meet and the true no evidence,” Doman said.

Doman said he wants to make grading a closer reflection of what students have mastered.

“I’m just really impressed and grateful to the students that have been a part of this that have been really trusting,” Doman said. “They have been open because it’s been an adjustment for them. It’s not just like, ‘oh, it’s easy.’ So, I just really appreciate the spirit that they’ve shown.”

A slide deck sent out to teachers stated that though they are planning to implement both pilots school-wide by the 2024-2025 school year, however, more conversations are still required before going forward with this plan, Jeretina said.

“There are 51 ways to fail and only 49 ways to succeed,” Jeretina said. “The 100-point scale that we’re very familiar with is something that has been used to evaluate students for a really long time. What we’re trying to do with it is just make sure that what a grade is representative of is what a student knows and is able to do. We think that with these models, we’re able to really get closer to that goal.”