New Schedule, New Me

Mrs. McNeil discusses the new changes to the grading period and grading system for the 2019-2020 school year


Katharine Walker and Vedant Joshi

     For the 2019-2020 school year, FISD is making drastic changes to the grading period and school assignments in order to help ease the stress placed on students. Part of these changes include shifting from a six to a nine week marking period, completely eliminating daily grades, and no longer penalizing students for showing mastery of a subject later on in the grading period.

     “It should really help kids figure out if they are genuinely learning the material or if they are doing the assignment for just completion,” English teacher, Mrs. McNeil said. “It’s really great because you get a more flexible reassessment policy so that will really help kids who don’t really learn as quickly as other students, but they get a second chance, which is awesome.”

     Grades, in general, as Mrs. McNeil describes, “should reflect the student’s actual mastery of the content,” and with daily assignments, those grades don’t show that.

     “Right now, teachers, administration is realizing, are treating daily grades as compliance grades or behavior grades,” Mrs. McNeil said, “and a grade should not reflect behavior.”

     Along with the elimination of daily grades, the new system adds three more weeks for each marking period to allow more time to learn, and less time to test.

     “Especially when you guys are having three or four tests in one week, the new system will help because teachers will be able to spread things out a bit, and it’s not a one-and-done thing,” McNeil said. “You have the opportunity to reassess specific skills and raise those grades so it’s not so much pressure on one grade at the first time around, so that should really help as well.”

     Less grades will also go in the grade book as well, as part of the system’s mission of “moving towards more standards-based or skills-based assessments to reflect a student’s mastery of the content.”

     “You will only have two major assessments and six minor assessments, so eight grades total in nine weeks,” McNeil said, “which is a lot different than eight grades now in six weeks.”

     Mrs. McNeil’s role was significant towards presenting the idea to teachers and administration in FISD in order for changes to occur.

     “Mr. Schaefer and I kind of presented the idea of this system at the beginning of the school year,” McNeil said. “In August, myself and a few others at Liberty will present the finalized system to all secondary English teachers.” 

     It’s not just a big change for students, but for everybody else as well, as teachers  will have to adjust previous habits.

     “It’s a learning curve for everybody,” McNeil said. “I hope students realize grades should their genuine learning and not necessarily ‘do I get it right the first time?’.”