Grading System Changed to an Annualized System

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Discussion has ensued amongst the Bronx Science student body regarding recent changes in the grading system. Prior to the 2016-2017 school year, students’ grades were reported each semester, and students were given a clean slate to start off their second semester. It was announced late last year, however, that grades were going to be annualized starting in September of 2016, meaning that students would have continuous grades throughout the year.

Students have been expecting this administrative change for a few months. Schools like Stuyvesant High School have a semester based grading system, but this is beause students have different teachers every semester. Other schools have an annualized grading system with the same teachers year-round. This change is entirely due to a new DOE policy, which mandates that schools can have a semester-based teaching system only if the teachers are changed every semester. In order to keep the current policy of students remaining with the same teachers throughout their academic year, Bronx Science needed to change the grading system to an annualized system, to comply with the new DOE policy.

According to the official school policy, as reflected in the Student Handbook, “Bronx Science is an annualized school where most courses’ syllabi, scope and sequence, lesson plans, assessments, and grading policy reflect a year-long learning cycle…Although we are annualized, grades and credits will go on the transcript at the end of each term, in January and June.”

There has been one way, however, that students have been able to compromise with their desire for a semester based grading system and the school’s need for an annualized grading system. During the start of the school year, students were informed that over the summer, Assistant Principal of Organization, Ms. Cooper, and Principal Dr. Donahue worked so that students would be allowed to keep two grades per year on their transcript.

“The only change in September 2016 was that the administration, following Department of Education policy, agreed to keep two grades on the transcript in this system versus only one,” said Adam Shaham ’17, S.O. President. “After this summer, we are now technically on an ‘annualized’ system, but the grading system has remained virtually intact.” Department of Education rules allow for schools to record grades and credits in January and June, which Bronx Science has chosen to do.

This change has caused a majority of students to be overjoyed. Shamira Talukder ’17 said, “I’m glad to have the grading system changed back. Like many students, I was uncomfortable with the new system. It was something that I wasn’t used to.”

Additionally, Trinh Nguyen ’17 stated, “Two grades per semester is more appealing. It gives you a chance to redo your first semester grades. Your mindset would change after seeing your grades reset rather than just have to always build up and improve the same grade. I feel that it’s psychologically more satisfying to have two grades per semester.”

Overall, the change to the new annualized grading system seems to be widely accepted. Now that this change is implemented for this school year, students are content, and New York City DOE policy is met.

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