New CRLS Grading Policies Will Affect Every Student

Alma Barak, Around School Editor

CRLS has made many changes over the past year, from the Youth Equity Summit to increased community-building events. The newest change—the “equitable grading” policy—is one that will affect almost every student. Grades will have a floor of 50%, there will be no more extra credit or participation grades, and students will be given a chance for reassessment on every topic. According to several teachers, these new modifications will be rolled out at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year.

Educators may have to spend uncompensated time over the summer readjusting their curriculum, yet many have only learned about the policy recently. “It’s mind boggling that we are changing a really significant way that we are addressing student learning, and there is no prep at all for it,” Jon Baring-Gold, a CRLS Ceramics teacher, told the Register Forum. “It is a joke if the administration believes that on the first week of school people are going to be ready.”

Removal of participation grades was a particularly controversial issue.

Students, on the other hand, have received no official notice about the policies, and a majority of those interviewed were apprehensive of the proposed changes. Removal of participation grades was a particularly controversial issue. “Participation is really where I strive,” explained Ella Flannery ’25. “The fact that we don’t have that anymore, and that now tests will be weighed more, is stressful.”

This change also has the potential to decrease student participation at a time when teenage attention spans are already at an
all-time low. According to a study done by Gitnux, 92% of students currently use their phones to text in class. With no accountability in terms of grades, this policy poses to increase that number.

However, some welcome the decision due to the inherently subjective nature of participation grades. “I’ve never once ever had participation as part of my grade,” said Joshua Bartholomew, who teaches HN Chemistry and Organic Chemistry, among other classes. “I’m not going to force participation, because I think it’s an artificial measure.”

For students like Valeria Artigas ’26, the removal of extra credit will also have a huge impact. “I haven’t been doing a lot of the assignments that are required of me and one of my teachers has … been creating new assignments for me to gain extra credit,” she said. “As much as I should have put in that same effort at the beginning of the year, extra credit has been a floating device for me. As of right now, I have motivation that I hadn’t had before. And if I hadn’t gotten that extra credit, I think my sophomore year plans would be very much different.”

At the end of the day, the new policy is complex, and there are still many critiques to work through. “It’s just odd that this is being dropped on us at the last minute,” Baring-Gold stated. “It is assumed that this is going to be a shoddy opening, and we’re just going to have to trip and fumble our way through this.”

This article also appears in our May/June 2023 print edition.