Students react after one semester of standards based grading

By Lupe Perez

Five months ago marked the start of confusion for junior Yotl Ramirez Jr., an Honors Physics student, as he attempted to become accustomed to a grading scale that was new to him. 

Despite the original hesitance and confusion, Ramirez has mixed feelings about the grading system after a semester. 

I like it and I don’t like it because it allows for a curve on almost every assignment, but as a result there’s no way to get like any middle percentages. It’s just a set score when you get based off of a number,” Ramirez said. 

The grading system acts as a form of a curve on his grade, as the overall grade average in each category is calculated for the final grade in the individual categories, according to Ramirez. 

“If it rounds up, then I get a better grade than if I were to get an exact score without a curve,” Ramirez said. 

Junior Jose Padilla said he likes that the new grading system for physics does not focus as much on percentages as most grading scales traditionally do. 

“I think I like this one a little bit better because it’s not just focused on numbers,” Padilla said.  “I mean it’s one through four, that’s about it. Instead of just like, oh, I’m at an 89%. That doesn’t really matter that much anymore. They focus mainly on how well you do it, how much you can improve on it and how well you can be in the future.” 

Despite being initially confused by the grading system, Padilla was able to keep track of each of the categories of his grade accordingly as the year progressed. 

“Yeah. They find the median for it. I did find it a little bit easier because they’re labeled now,” Padilla said. 

Seeing the different categories of what is being specifically assessed — rather than having assignment or test categories that a class would traditionally have — made it easier to track his grade, according to Padilla. 

“They’re all labeled and you can see what grade you have in each specific one and see what assignments you did well on. So it makes it easier,” Padilla said. 

Padilla also said that this new grading scale was much more forgiving and improved his overall grade this past semester. 

“It helps me since it’s a little bit more forgiving than the previous one. You can make a little bit more errors, but because you can make a little more errors, the teachers are also a little bit more, on top of you,” Padilla said. “They help you a little bit more and they provide assistance when needed, which I personally find very helpful, especially during finals.” 

Junior Seve Jimenez liked the standards based grading scale this past semester. According to Jimenez, this grading scale overall benefited his grade this past semester too. 

“It’s actually pretty good. I like it because at the beginning of the year you can do really bad for the entire year, but then at the end of the year, like all your grades look up if you do well,” Jimenez said. 

There has been yet another modification to this grading system for the entire department. There are now five categories in which students are graded on. 

According to Padilla, this new change will make it easier to keep track of his grade. 

I think it might make it less difficult, since there’s one less of a category to focus on. So now you just need to focus on the other categories and be able to polish your skills more on those,” Padilla said.