The Student News Organization for Rutherford B. Hayes High School

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The Student News Organization for Rutherford B. Hayes High School

The Talisman

The Student News Organization for Rutherford B. Hayes High School

The Talisman

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Mastery Misinformation: this system needs to go

Many+students+at+Hayes+have+been+criticizing+the+new+mastery+grading+system+in+hopes+of+bringing+back+traditional+letter+grades.
Zach Taylor
Many students at Hayes have been criticizing the new mastery grading system in hopes of bringing back traditional letter grades.

Hayes has introduced the Mastery grading system to students and teachers over the past few years and one thing is clear: the idea is perfect on paper, but inefficient and unproductive in the classroom.
The system replaces the traditional letter grading structure of A’s, B’s, C’s, D’s and F’s, with a testing scale of 1 to 4, assessing the mastery that the student has over that particular unit. Level one is the equivalent of a D-, which is still technically a passing grade.
The level one for each class is usually the easy material. Students are tested on just the basics which can either be vocabulary or basic level problems.
However, the system is designed and executed to cater to lazy students by letting them pass their mastery classes with minimum effort because they can still pass any class with just a D-.
On the flip side, the students who want to work hard and earn good grades have a much harder time because the level four exam, which earns an A+, is a project or test to be completed outside of class. Students are busy with jobs, sports, music and other homework.
There’s no reason to add another thing to do just for a student to earn an A+, even if passing a level three test gets them an A-.
Not to mention that each level must be passed with a perfect score for any level above it to even count at all.
If a student takes levels one through three but gets a 99% on level two, they are stuck at a one out of four until they are allowed to retake the quiz. If they don’t manage to fix level two, they only get partial credit for completion leaving them at a 1.5, or an even D.
The work that went into the level three score is wasted because the system won’t accept anything below a 100%. If they tried but couldn’t perfect their work, the student is left with an extremely low, but passing grade.
And that’s for only one mastery based class. The amount of scales classes in the building is increasing, and soon students’ schedules will be mostly if not completely full of mastery classes.
At the end of the year, the average number score for every unit is converted to a letter grade. It makes absolutely no sense to spend the whole year assessing a student’s learning with numbers only to switch it to the letter system at the last possible second. The extra step is completely unnecessary and is just another hurdle for a teacher to go over when grading.
With the removal of the mastery system, a student’s grade is not singularly dependent on a test grade over the entire unit. The different grades spanned between quizzes, projects and depending on the class, essays or labs.
A student can earn any grade on an assignment and doesn’t have to take prior tests to build up to a good grade. It’s one assignment for one grade, not four assignments for that same singular grade.
The whole idea of mastery is extremely inefficient in the classroom, putting additional pressure on students who already have very full plates.
All in all, the mastery system has more downsides than advantages, adding extra pressure on the hardworking, catering to the lazy and instilling an unhealthy need for perfection in the more studious peers.
The letter system works, so leave it.

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About the Contributors
Emily Little, Staff Writer
Emily Little (she/her) is a junior at Hayes this year, and this is her first year on staff. She is in Hayes Players and plays the violin. Outside of school, she enjoys being with her family, reading and writing creatively, and watching movies.
Zach Taylor, Photographer
Zach Taylor (he/his) is a junior at Hayes. This is his first year on staff. Zach manages the Delaware Hayes Baseball team’s Instagram account and does their graphics. In his free time, he enjoys playing baseball and watching sports while hanging out with his friends.
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    Katrina WetherbyDec 6, 2023 at 3:59 pm

    Wow!! That is a very interesting article- especially as a former Hayes teacher. Good to hear a student’s perspective.
    Katrina Wetherby

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