District 86 implements new grading system for students

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Simrah Qasim

Naya Majauskas, junior, checks her grades on HAC.

For the 2021  school-year, District 86 made the decision to implement a new grading system for students at both Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South High School.

D86 presents a new layout for HAC. The new layout does not include percentages and shows the removal of + and -. (Simrah Qasim)

Some of the major changes that occurred included a consistent grading scale throughout every department and a higher weight to summative assessments. 

Discussions concerning new policies started to arise when District 86 realized that high schools within the same district (Hinsdale South and Hinsdale Central) were following different curriculums and separate scales for grading. It has been the goal to equalize opportunities between students and maintain a fair balance. 

“If we are one district…why should somebody who is at [Hinsdale] South have a more rigorous or less rigorous curriculum than someone graduating from Central?” Principal William Walsh said. 

A common misconception among parents and students in the district is that these changes have only been discussed in the last year. In reality, there has been an active conversation about modifying the grading system for almost three years. 

“We are behind the ball when it comes to these grading practices, in that many districts have already moved towards these because they’re all research based. It is not capricious,” said Jessica Hurt, assistant principal for curriculum and instruction.

Prior to the 2021-2022 school-year, students who were unable to meet deadlines, or complete assignments on time, were able to turn in work for partial credit the next day. For many students, this is no longer the case. 

“I do not like the new system,” said Naya Majauskas, junior. “I was really surprised at the changes. I think changing the grading scale for the science classes and classes, in general, was unfair. The departments decide certain grading scales for a reason, and going against that disadvantages the students.” 

The LLT (learning leadership team), who made this decision, consists of approximately 44 members; department chairs and teachers. They have been studying research-based academic practices in order to construct an impartial system for students, regardless of which teacher they have. Many department, including Science and English, have altered their weighing system. The Science department now follows up to 100 percent summative scores, while the English department now weighs summative assessments up to 90 percent. 

“Anything the district does is to help the students,” said Robert Russo, who teaches in Hinsdale Central’s Social Studies department.

With the administration of new changes, comes the question of whether these developments are permanent, or if we should expect more to come. 

“It’s our first year doing it, it will be reflective of it, and could there be changes? Potentially… Right now the idea is, these things will stay,” Principal Walsh said.

For questions or more information, email Principal Walsh at wwalsh@hinsdale86.org.