With Governor Cuomo’s announcement that NYC schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year, there is one question that needs to be answered: how will students be graded? Originally, when Ramaz was let out on March 11, a majority of students thought that students would be returning at some point, but as time progressed, hope diminished. In response, departments had meetings in which they planned for the situation students are currently going through.
The subjects which are easiest to conduct via Zoom are the ones that have the least-changed plan for grading. Over the past few years, the English Department has done away with in-class tests, a decision that has proven beneficial over time. Students’ grades in English will continue to be reflected in essays, short quizzes, and other writing assignments. The World Language Department has transitioned to using projects and additional homework as a way to compensate for the inability to administer exams.
Most classes, however, will continue to administer assessments by making them open-note exams. The History and Math Departments have already begun using this method with varying results for different classes, due to different students’ abilities to transition to the online testing method. The History Department also uses the annual history paper assignment to calculate a final grade. Open-note assessments may not be the best solution, however, as many students may disregard studying prior to the exam and rely too heavily on their notes. The Science Department and most Judaic Studies Departments have not scheduled official assessment dates, and have instead given small quizzes every so often in order to establish a grade. Finals will be structured more like regular unit tests.
Independent of each subjects’ plans for assessments, every department will now weigh participation and behavior to a higher degree. This is something students should take advantage of as much as possible. Ramaz will not be using a pass/fail grading system, but participation in class will have a heavy impact, largely for the better, on students’ final grades.