Starting this year, DHS switched from having three six-week marking periods to having just two nine-week marking periods for every semester. Although this may not seem like a big change, it does affect students in a negative way.
Marking periods were already long enough when they were six weeks, extending them three more weeks makes them unbearable. Most students look forward to the end of the marking period, it gives them a sense of relief knowing that they’re almost done. This is why making the marking period three weeks longer is bad, because student’s will be less motivated to work as the marking period goes on then they already are now.
“I feel like this first nine weeks lasted forever,” junior Robert Ellebracht said. “There were points were I wondered to myself, how are we still in the first marking period? It really hurt my work ethic.”
Nine week marking periods also hurt the students who procrastinate marking period projects. Students think now that they have nine weeks, they can delay working on projects longer. Although they may have more time, teachers know this and will make the project requirements harder or extend the requirements of the project. Since the students will procrastinate the project, they won’t do a good job and will probably miss the points added to the projects by the additional requirements.
Making the marking period longer also hurts students that are enrolled in classes that restart grades at the end of every period. Now that there are only two marking periods per semester, students in these classes get one less chance to start fresh again. This means that if a student does poorly on a big test or gets a bad grade on a class presentation, they might not be able to salvage their grade for that marking period, which will hurt their overall semester grade.
“I don’t like the switch because now there is even more pressure to do well on big tests and projects, because you know that you have one less chance to start over,” junior Kevin Scott said. “It’s scary.”
The change to nine week marking periods also changes how teachers determine semester grades. Instead of the old system where each marking period grade was 25% of the semester grade with the exam grade being 25% in science and math classes, teachers now have to readjust how they configure semester grades. They have to decide whether to make a student’s exam grade account for more of their semester grade by making marking periods and the exam grade the worth the same percentage. This would hurt scholars that are good students, but don’t do well on tests.
They could also just double the student’s grade for each marking period and make their exam grade only 20% of a student’s semester grade. Doing this hurts students that depend on the class exam to get a good semester grade.
“I usually depend on the semester exam to give my overall grade that boost it needs,” junior Matthew Lee said. “So making the exams worth less is a bad thing because even if I do really well on it, it won’t make that big impact on my overall grade.”
All of these are reasons why DHS should reconsider switching the marking periods back to having only two per semester. It’s a small change that will have a big impact on students.