Coronavirus affects traditional grading system


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Everything has been affected. Schools are closed for the remainder of the year which affected how fourth marking period grades will be determined. The COVID-19 worldwide pandemic has brought unprecedented circumstances, causing choices and changes throughout the globe.

Zakary Hicks, Reporter

Schools across the nation have been shut down and have transitioned to cyber education because of the effects of COVID-19.  Before the Altoona Area School District closed on March 12, the third marking period had a week left. Although things are changing daily, the school closure has been extended to schools being closed for the rest of the school year.  

The third marking period was affected by the anticipated closure. 

The shutdown cut the marking period short by about a week, so the marking period remained open for an extended period of time. Third marking period grades are now due April 16. However, only items turned in before the cancellation are being added,” English teacher Nicole Fuller said. 

Unless teachers gave out and graded benchmarks before the school cancellation, benchmarks have been canceled. 

“I never realized how much I appreciated school until it was canceled.  Although I am glad that benchmarks and Keystones are not happening anymore, I still miss school,” sophomore Jaden Kubica said.  

With the transition to online learning, teachers were forced to make plans for how they wanted to pursue the new form of education.  

“In this new version of schooling, I’ve tried to balance structure, flexibility and consistency. Each week looks the same: all of my assignments are added to Google Classroom at 8 a.m. Monday morning along with an “Overview” document that provides direction and updates. All assignments are labeled with the current week of learning. Each week, I post between three to five assignments depending on the time commitment and the level of difficulty. Students have the entire week to work on assignments in whatever order they prefer. I know students have varying schedules and opportunities to access the internet, so to me, this allows students to work throughout the week when they are able to,” Fuller said.  

The fourth marking period has been completely changed to be compatible with the unprecedented time in the country.  

“AAHS is moving to a pass/fail system for the fourth marking period.  Students receiving a pass will earn a 100 percent on their report cards for the fourth marking period, and it will be included in the final grade calculation.  A fail will equal a 50 percent and also be calculated into a student’s final grade for the year. If a student earns a 59.5 percent or above for the fourth marking period that will be considered a pass.  If a student earns a 59.4 percent or lower for the fourth marking period that will be considered a fail,” Principal Andrew Neely said. 

Students who go to Altoona are already accustomed to Google Classroom which benefited both teachers and students. 

“The transition to online school has been a new experience. Thankfully, my classes were already familiar with Google Classroom and how assignments are set up, but there is still a learning curve for both the students and teachers. Right now, I’m focused on remaining in touch with students and building on the skills we’ve worked on throughout the year,” Fuller said. 

Although the school year has moved online, virtual career fairs and other materials are available to allow students to continue exploring careers and to keep them on track for post-secondary education.  Report cards for the third marking period will be posted online in the coming weeks unless parents request a printed and mailed copy .