New grade policy aims to demonstrate mastery in content

Jordan Battey, Managing Editor

The start of the 2021-2022 school year has brought several district-wide changes to grading procedures. Two of the most prominent developments include the opportunity to retest up to 100, and the elimination of the AP grade curve.

“As for the new retest policy, I think it makes sense because the whole point of a retest is to demonstrate that the student has the knowledge in the end, despite when they may have learned it,” AP Bio and APES teacher Richard Sabatier said. “I think that for students it could be a double-edged sword. On one side, students have time to relearn content so that their scores accurately reflect their knowledge. However, some students might try to take advantage of the fact that they can restart up to a 100, so they will just wait and do that.”

This option provides some much-needed breathing room for junior Rachel Chang.

“As an AP student, this new retesting policy will be extremely useful as taking multiple AP classes as well as being involved in many extracurriculars can be stressful,” Chang said. “I think this will not only motivate students to try their best, but also not be afraid of failure.”

However, this is not the only change impacting AP students. 

“Initially, the AP curve going away was a bit of a shock to me, because a 50 on an AP test is a 3, which is a passing score,” Sabatier said. “However, a 50 percent in the grade book is not a pass.”

Chang does not expect this to make a drastic change to her daily life as an AP student. 

“To be honest, from my perspective I never saw much change in my grades from the grade curve system,” Chang said. “Also, many teachers would never use the curve system and it really depended on the class itself. With the new retesting policy, there isn’t really a need for having curves.”

Along with other AP Science teachers, Richard Sabatier has decided to take a proactive response to this development in order to assist students. 

“We had to get creative and figure out how to accurately reflect the rigor of an AP course while still adhering to the guideline,” Sabatier said. “So we established a scale instead, which is similar to a curve but is proactive instead of reactive. The scale outlines a pre-set standard that we can align the students’ grades with.”

For students like junior Akanksha Mehta, this system will counteract any possible stress from the curve elimination.

“I don’t think the board’s decision to take away the grade curve system will affect me that much, because many of my teachers in AP classes, like AP Bio and AP Physics, have switched to a scale that correlates to AP scoring, to help increase grades on assessments,” Mehta said. “Because of the new policies, I will probably organize my studying and practice so that I can keep up with the content in my classes.”