Denton ISD’s New Grading Policy

Parker Primrose, Freshman staffer

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Change isn’t always a good thing. But if you ask Denton ISD, they feel that their new grading policy is making a positive impact on their students. Two years ago, Denton ISD talked to students, teachers and parents in order to find a new way to help students reach their potential. Now, they feel like they have found it.

In Denton ISD’s new policy, homework is not taken for a grade, but is instead used solely as a way to help students learn what skills they need to work on. Also, tests and quizzes throughout the semester can be retaken within a two-week time frame in order to earn a satisfactory grade. This builds responsibility in the students to learn the content, and allows them to figure out how they learn best. Denton ISD’s Communications Coordinator, Julie Zwahr, described the grading policy as a simulation of the real world, creating a true reflection of what the student knows. When asked how colleges feel about the new policy, Zwahr said they like the responsibility it creates in the students, and best explained it by comparing it to a school football team.

“For a team, daily practices aren’t graded and are used to improve your skills, while games are graded – wins and losses,” said Zwahr. “Practices, like classroom daily work, are a way to see what skills you need to work on. With our policy, homework is much like the team’s practices, and exams are like the games.”

When Allen students were asked to share how they would feel about Allen High adopting a grading policy like Denton ISD’s, they had several things to say.

“It puts more emphasis on learning,” says freshman Emily Walsh. “You can then simply focus on the information instead of focusing on small deadlines that are hard to accomplish because of extracurricular activities and excessive amounts of daily work.”

Collin Williams, a sophomore at Allen High, says it would reward students who are more responsible. “It’s always the students who are on top of things who are going to do better,” Williams said.

This is the first year for Denton ISD’s new policy, and they feel it has greatly enhanced the learning experience for their students. While it continues to see success in Denton ISD, it would be an intriguing change for Allen ISD to consider.

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