By Razia Sultana
Last May, the School Leadership Team (SLT) voted to discard the old, six-marking period cycle in favor of a new, four-marking period one. The change passed with an 89.6% majority. With the start of the new school year, Tech said goodbye to the old system of six marking periods and began grading based on a four-marking period cycle. This transition has caused mixed feelings among the faculty and students.
According to Jennifer Yu Ou ’15, “Now that the marking periods are extended, I feel more agitated about keeping up my grades because I see less benchmarks to keep me on track when I need to work harder.”
Many students share this opinion, claiming that the extended marking period has caused them more stress.
This change has elongated the standard marking period from six weeks to ten. Some believe the system is more accurate, and therefore, better.
English teacher Debra Rothman commented that this system is, “a better reflection of the students; it clearly shows their strengths and weaknesses.” She then added that the switch in grade rounding increments from five to one has had a larger effect than the extended marking period on the student body.
Maliat Manzur’14 argued that this new system is beneficial for both teachers and students. “At the end of the marking period, teachers will give tests. I think the four-marking period idea is good in the sense that we don’t have to face a plethora of tests six times a year anymore.” Manzur believes that the extended marking period allows teachers to focus their attention and energy more on teaching than on examinations.
This marking period, however, was not the expected ten weeks.
Sanjeda Nayeem ’16 said, “I honestly liked the idea of four long marking periods instead of six shorter ones, but because of Hurricane Sandy the first marking period was cut short for us. A lot of students were looking forward to going to school to improve their grades, but unfortunately because of Sandy they couldn’t do so.”
Hurricane Sandy resulted in a weeklong hiatus from school for Tech students and faculty. Rothman said that the hurricane slowed down her grading process. “My work was here [in school] and I was elsewhere. We should’ve been given until the end of the week to get the grades in.”
Both Yu Ou and Nayeem agree that the extended marking period puts less stress on teachers and gives them more time to get things done.
Nayeem said, however, “Because we had a week or so off, a lot of teachers fell behind in their work, grading, and lesson plans.”
Many students voiced that Sandy dramatically affected their first marking period grades. Manzur shared that while she can’t judge if the extended marking period is truly effective until she receives her second-marking period grades, the first marking period didn’t go well.
“This first marking period affected all of us badly. Now we have to cram and speed up the learning process. There is no other way to make up the lost work, especially for the AP classes.”
Missing the last week of the marking period caused many tests to be pushed into the second marking period. According to Yu Ou, had she taken those exams before the end of the marking period, her grades would have improved.
Ultimately, a majority of both the faculty and student body agree that this first “long marking period” should have been extended further to accommodate for the days lost.