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Students see pros and cons in proposed grading system

January 01, 2001

Students see pros and cons in proposed grading system



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer

see also: Letter grades may help struggling students

Some Washington County Public School students had mixed reactions to the proposed changes to the middle and high school grading systems.

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While some were in favor of the changes, others either disagreed or founds pros and cons with both methods.

Elizabeth Suh, 17, a senior at North Hagerstown High School, thinks a change from percentages to letters is a good idea, because it would motivate students.

She said some students become so focused on trying for exact number grades that it can make them nervous and hinder performance. Letter grades, however, are less restrictive, she said.

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"I like the letter grade system better because it definitely does relieve some of the pressure," Suh said. "It's a better way to get the focus back on learning. I think more people would be happier with it than not."

She also said some of her teachers had discussed the two grading methods and prefer the letter system.

Jessica Fitzwater, a senior at Smithsburg High School, doesn't feel the same way.

She thinks the school system would be catering to students who don't put a lot of effort into their studies and penalizing better students.

"They're changing the system for the kids that are doing worse," Fitzwater, 17, said. "That doesn't seem right to me."

One Williamsport senior said there are positives and negatives to both methods.

"Percentages tell you exactly how you are doing, as opposed to letter grades, which just say which category you're in," Eric Lauver, 18, said. "I'm happy with the way things are right now."

He thinks the Board of Education could spend some more time focusing on other ways to improve the school sytem than by changing the grading system.

"Right now there's more important issues to deal with," Lauver said.

Earning high letter grades could also seem less impressive for students in advanced classes, he said.

"I don't think it would allow them to show off their talents as well," Lauver said. "If a student taking an intermediate class gets an A and someone taking an advanced class gets an A, it would mean the same thing."

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