Rolling grade book fails to reward students later in year


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Report Card sarcastically reflects life aspects rather than grades.

Zoe Rosas, Staff Writer

Having aced a test after two quarters of struggle, a student eagerly opens SIS, certain that the recent A they earned improved their overall grade. They then turn away after seeing their stagnant D+. Many students face this dilemma as the quarter begins. 

Grades remain crucial to evaluate student progress; yet the way in which work is qualified plays a major role in how well students score. Grades are tied to self worth, and when a student receives grades that fail to reflect their effort, they are discouraged and less likely to keep trying, according to University of the People

Parent pressure strains students’ relationships with grades as parents regard the grading system as equivalent to the effort that was invested according to University of the People. This stress also prevents students from learning concepts and instead directs their focus on the approaching test, contributing to testing culture. 

FCPS committed to provide support to students after returning to regular school rigor post-pandemic. Their solution was the rolling gradebook, which also aimed to ease grading by allowing students grace during the first quarters provided they raise their grade in the last quarter. The rolling gradebook gained some popularity as students no longer needed to cram for the end of each quarter, as their quarterly grade wasn’t final. However the issue later proved to be that the first three quarters carried too much weight for students to raise their grade successfully, regardless of recent improvements. 

The rolling grade book was used during distance learning and was later carried into the 2021-2022 school year. 

AP classes have used the rolling gradebook prior to the pandemic and although already an intense course, this style of grading adds unnecessary difficulty. Perhaps a student struggles through the beginning of their AP course, then gains new study habits and strategies to learn efficiently. Their grade would shift only slightly because of the rolling gradebook.  

Student achievement is limited as a consequence of never allowing for a clean slate. This form of grading carries one grade into the next, so that if a student had an F in the first quarter, they start with an F in the next, soon leading to a constant cycle of demoralization. Contrarily, the quarterly gradebook grants redemption every quarter to improve. Students’ motivation can be renewed as they begin to score higher and end with a stronger grade. 

By making the slight change for FCPS to use the quarterly gradebook, achieving accurately reflected effort in grades becomes simple, therefore relieving students of pressure from parents and related self-worth issues.