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The Student News Site of Guilford High School

The Voyager

The Student News Site of Guilford High School

The Voyager

What are the effects of the 90/10 split grading system?

Charlie Hahn
Larkin Blanekey, sophomore gets tips on improving her summative grade from Mr. Appino. (Photo Illustration)

   This year the RPS205 district implemented a 90/10 grading split, coming as a shock to many students, and some faculty. This split, or a split like it, has been recommended for a summative/formative breakdown ever since the new curriculum came out about eight years ago.

   This new grading system means that summatives account for 90% of students’ grades, while formatives account for 10%. This has caused an uprise in concern from many students, and even some faculty.

   “Initially I was worried about it, because it obviously places a large emphasis on that one category, but I think the more that we have conversations as a school, we can understand that that category doesn’t have to be a test,” said principal Gus Carter.

   As for the timing, there is no real explanation other than it happened to fall on this year. For some teachers, this has been long awaited, but for others, it did not come as happy news.

   “I’m still on the fence about it, (the new system) because I don’t think a lot of kids understand how much 90% of their grade really is.” said Ms. Sanika Dev, health, kinesiology, and CCR teacher.

   In past years, teachers were allowed to pick their own grading system to split formatives and summatives. They were also allowed to give extra credit on assignments, which is not the case now. This was a system many teachers and students favored, because they think it has a better effect on grades.

   In reality though, the 90% summative category includes more than just tests. A “summative” is merely a culmination of important tasks, so it can include any assignment that a teacher deems fit. Projects, papers, quizzes, labs, notes, slideshows, and many other things could be counted as summative assignments.

   There are many upsides to the 90/10 split, too. Not only is it non-exclusive to tests, but since there is more pressure to do well in that category, there is a mandatory retest-policy authorized by the district.

   “Personally, I think there are things that are really good about the change because there are a lot of good things that came in with the 90/10 as well, like the mandatory retest policy,” said Mr. Carter.

   90/10 is considered best practice when it comes to grading research. The larger summative category forces students to study more, to then retain the information, causing them to perform better on tests and ultimately remember the information they learned significantly longer.

   One problem that many teachers face is that students just don’t do the homework. They figure that if homework is only 10% of their grade, they can still get an A in the class without doing any of it.

   While this may be true, homework is a learning tool that builds up to the test. It is practice for the test that gives students some easy points to help build their overall grade in the class. And if nothing else, it is a failsafe in case students don’t get 100% on every test. Those 10 points from doing homework could make or break the difference between a C and a B.

   “I have to be careful about how I word things, so that kids will understand that they should be doing the work, because it will help them be prepared for the test,” said Ms. Dev.

   This new grading split may not have been everyone’s first choice, but there are many benefits hidden beneath the surface that they may not see.

   “I think 90/10 is very beneficial, and I see a lot of merit and value in it from the research that we’ve done as a school,” said Mr. Carter.

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Charlie Hahn
Charlie Hahn, Features Editor

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