MCPS chose to eliminate high school exams in early September. The removal of such a large grade leaves a huge gap to be filled. To adjust for it, there are four options to be considered as the new policy.
The first option is Numeric (Percent) Average. Each marking period shares the same percentage and students will get the average value of the two periods. For instance, if a student gets an 80%-B and a 90%-A, their final semester percentage grade will be an 85%-B.
The second option is called Quality Point Average. Every grade has a correlating number: A is 4; B is 3; C is 2; D is 1; E is 0. Students will have the average value of the two marking periods for final grade. If one gets an A (4) and a B (3), then they will have an A (3.5). The scale of the final semester grade is as follows: 3.5-4 is an A, 2.5-3.49 is a B, 1.5-2.49 is a C, 0.75-2.49 is a D, and below 0.75 is E.
The third option is Trend, which is the method currently used in courses that do not have semester exams. The final grade is averaged by the two marking periods but the second marking period have an elevated weight. For example, if a student gets A and a B in the two quarters, respectively, they will have a B as their final grade. If a student gets a B and an A, they will have an A as their final grade.
The last option is Additional “Final Evaluation” Assessment Category. The final exam grade will maintain 25% of the total grade but replaced by teachers’ evaluation on assessments. If one gets A and B on their marking periods and a B on Evaluation, then their final grade is a B.
After viewing these four options, the Trend seems to be the most fitting for students. The greatest benefit of removing final exams is that it will relieve students’ stress when the end of the semester comes.
However, the Evaluation option does not reach this goal: it keeps student pressure. The Numeric Average and Quality Point Average are very fair but do not aid students’ grades a lot. Yes, the average is a very useful tool, but should not be used here. For instance, if a student gets an 88%-B and a 90%-A, the numeric average will be 89%, which is a B. It looks fair, but if the student tries their best to improve they should instead be rewarded with a higher grade for this development.
The Trend option would symbolize that MCPS wants students to challenge themselves to improve their grades since the second marking period’s grade weighs more.
Article by MoCo Student Opinions writer Tiffany Pei of Quince Orchard High School