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Natasha Ray, Features Editor

As we all made our first forays into the virtual learning environment, the PDS administration quickly rolled out a new grading policy for the remainder of the second semester. They created a system that ensured no student would receive a grade below their midterm grade. Those who diligently complete their work would receive a pass, a ⅓ letter grade increase (B to B+, A- to A), and those who put in extra work and effort would receive a high pass, a ⅔ letter grade increase (B to A-, A- to A+). 

(Photo/PDS)

This policy was made with the utmost consideration for all members of our community. The administration is aware that everyone’s situation is different during this difficult time, and they would like to account for the new responsibilities people may have to take on while adjusting to the new normal. The administration does not want to penalize anyone during this time of adjustment.. Personally, I am in support of this grading policy. Before I knew about it, a plethora of unanswered questions filled my mind, the most prominent ones concerning the effect of these grades on college applications in the fall. Thankfully, once the grading policy was unveiled, most of my questions were answered, and other members of the PDS community also appear to be happy with the new policy. 

Results of a survey posted to Schoology. (Photo/Anjali Bhatia)

Freshman Milan Patel remarked, “I like the new grading system. It does mostly benefit kids with lower grades but my grades can’t get dropped…so it helps me out as well. I think that it is interesting that they decided not to let kids drop their grades, but it helps me so I don’t mind.” This is a common viewpoint that many students interviewed hold. The grading system promotes growth and allows for incentive to work hard during this time, because it is now relatively easier to raise your grades in classes. Junior Britney Chia said, “Yes, if you can’t do anything but improve your grade, then it’s a good policy, especially if you were struggling. You can try your best to get the grade higher. Or even if you are not happy with the midterm grade, you can reach to improve your previous work.” Overall, students are very much in support of the idea that this new policy is giving them an opportunity to work towards a higher grade. According to a recent survey, 90% of upper schoolers like the new policy.

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I also see it as helpful for students who might do their best work outside of traditional assessments like tests or quizzes, which are usually the main basis of grades. With a decreased focus on these due to the online platform, students are allowed to show their dedication while earning a pass or a high pass in their classes by thoroughly completing assignments, putting hard work into projects, adding thoughtful contributions to discussions, or meeting with their teachers. Learning in this environment is difficult, but I believe that PDS has given us a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate our work ethic and continue working towards goals, even in the face of adversity.

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