Grading for students during coronavirus pandemic should be altered to suit students’ needs

Abby Pikett, News Assistant Editor

One of the biggest questions students had throughout quarantine was in regards to their final grades for the 2019-2020 school year. Students and teachers alike wondered how grades would be counted, if they were counted at all. In May 2020, Wake County Public Schools announced that grades for students could not be lowered from the grade they left school with March 13, but could be raised through additional classwork from May 11 and afterwards. This new information about grading during quarantine has led many to question if this is the best decision the county could have made during this time. 

Wake County Public Schools formally decided that no students’ grades in any of their classes could go down from what they were March 13, when schools were let out due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Students who were unsatisfied with their grades have the chance to bring them up during quarantine through completing new assignments from their teachers. Another option for students is to take a pass or fail for their classes this semester. Final grades for students will be recorded Friday, May 29. This seems to be a reasonable response for grades considering the extremity of the current global situations, but the grades from this semester can still have an effect on students that may not be visible yet. 

Specifically, many juniors in high school worry about how their grades from this year will come into play when applying for colleges this fall. Most students would prefer to take the letter grade for their classes this year, in order to boost their grade point average. This puts increased amounts of stress on students who need to bring their grades up in classes, because they would have to focus on getting their grades up while still worrying about the ongoing pandemic and other stressors at home. 

Additionally, students who were enrolled in advanced placement classes may worry about focusing on their AP exams and getting credit for those classes in college. Students who have to deal with the stresses of coronavirus and AP exams would only have an added stressor if they also had to focus on maintaining their grades in school. 

Wake County schools seemed to have developed a plan that can work for almost every student. If a student wants to improve their grade, they have the option to. If a student is satisfied with their grade from March 13, then they technically do not have to turn in any additional work. Those who have lower grades that they do not want affecting their grade point average can choose to take a pass in that class, so they still receive credit. 

During this time, it is important that administrators and students alike understand the stresses that anyone could be facing at any moment. No student should be expected to turn in classwork at a specific time, because various situations may not allow them to. School may provide a much-needed distraction for others, which is why it is still important that schools do their best to provide a learning opportunity for students who are still interested in getting the education they were getting before quarantine. 

Wake County Public Schools made the most reasonable decision in regards to grading during this time. It allows for every student to make the choice that best suits them this year, and takes some of the stress off of getting classwork done during quarantine.