No finals, grading scale changes impact semester’s end at RHS

Seniors Kelsey Wink and Jalen Jackson using their knowledge of melting points to identify an unknown solid by its melting point.

COVID scholastic adjustments
Due to COVD-19, certain changes have been made to help students get through the tough year
Julia Tully, News/Opinion Editor
The 2020-2021 school year has had a lot of changes made to accommodate with the COVD-19 pandemic, and recently, two new changes that will hopefully improve students’ grades as the year goes on have just been made.
“What we’ve learned during this pandemic is that this is not the ideal way of learning for most kids,” principal Benjamin Reynolds said. “So, the teachers reached out and pitched the idea that we need to build something into our system so that, when there’s extenuating circumstances, some kids can still earn credit.”
Similar to how each class has class officers, the teachers have a leadership team, which includes two teachers from each department who represent their department when it comes to making decisions like this one. Additionally, administrators meet with ninth and tenth grade teachers to brainstorm ways to help students succeed.
“When I met with the group of mainly tenth grade teachers, they basically started out by asking if we should give these students credit,” media teacher Janet Haddad said. “My first point was that we had to not just think about bottom kids, but also top kids.”
The teachers also wanted to make sure that students who were not doing any work, were not getting credit. The credit would only apply for students who had circumstances that caused them to fall behind or struggle.
“Mr. Blake and I sort of met in the middle and we had to make up a proposal for our plan,” Haddad said.
Their proposal was to adjust the grading scale. This proposal would take a D minus all the way down to a 50% rather than a 60%, leaving more room for students to pass their classes.
“There’s always extenuating circumstances for students, but during a pandemic there’s even more,” Reynolds said. “What this change is going to do is allow some kids that don’t quite get to 60% to still earn credit if the teacher thinks that they deserve it.”
Students who have been struggling through online have seen this as an opportunity for them to be able to pass, as they did not think they would towards the beginning of the year.
“I had COVID around mid September, and I started to fall behind in a lot of classes because I was really sick,” sophomore Alana Tully said. “A lot of my grades still haven’t fully recovered, but with the change I know that I can for sure pass all of my classes, even if it’s with a D minus.”
With the change in grading scale, the administration also made a change that could benefit students who are at the top of their class, rather than the bottom.
“When grades are all said and done for semester one, students will have the opportunity to apply to take a G, instead of their letter grade,” Reynolds said.
Taking a G instead of a letter grade means that that letter grade would not count towards or against your GPA.
“So, if a student that typically gets A’s gets a B, there’s some criteria they’ll have to meet, and they’ll have to fill out a google form, but they can apply for this G, and not have their letter grade put into their GPA,” Reynolds said.
The second change that will be made this semester due to COVID, is the lack of final exams.
“The majority of teachers would have to totally rewrite their final since we haven’t covered near as much as we normally would have,” Haddad said. “And also, is a big huge test really what students need right now?”
The week of finals, if permitted, will be the week that we will be returning to the hybrid style of learning. This week would not be a regular finals week, and would instead just be normal class periods.
“There’s not going to be that traditional 90 minute final exam period,” Reynolds said. “I think what most teachers are talking about doing or is maybe doing their unit tests that they would have been having anyways. Some teachers don’t want to do any tests and they just want to teach through the week so they can teach more material, and some teachers may be doing projects.”
No matter the situation going on right now, all teachers and administration recognize how hard students are trying to get through this tough year, and are hopeful for the upcoming semester.
“I’m proud of our students, they’re pushing through. I know this is not easy, it’s very very hard,” Reynolds said. “Hopefully everybody gets a good rest over the break, comes back recharged and ready to finish the three weeks left of the semester strong.”