School Committee Amends BHS Grading Proposal In Response To Covid-19

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Principal Heather Galante joined by Assistant Principals Thomas Casey and Daniel Hudder, as well as Director of Guidance Alicia Linsey, shared Bedford High’s proposal for Term 3 and 4 grading that helps mitigate the effects of Covid-19.

Galante stressed that this proposal was the only option that did not penalize students for the effects of Covid-19. The desire to not penalize students was a central focus of the school administration as they drafted this proposal.

Linsey echoed Galante’s claims, saying that challenging times call for flexibility. Linsey, who speaks to colleges regularly as part of her role as Director of Guidance, spoke of her recent conversations with colleges who stressed that Covid-19 would significantly impact the college application process, and students should not be worried.

In the introduction to their proposal, Galante and Linsey write that it takes into account guidance from the Mass. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, their equity work as a district, an awareness of the challenges students and their families face, and their partnership with Challenge Success.

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Currently Bedford High is grading terms 3 and 4 through a pass or fail grade, a practice that will continue under this proposal. The community service requirement for the class of 2020 will be waived as it will not be possible for seniors to complete their community service hours. Final exams will also be eliminated, and baseline assessments will be given at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.

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Significant changes in the proposal exist in the calculation of GPA for the Classes of 2021, 2022, and 2023. Rather than weighing each term 20 percent, the administrators chose to weigh the first and second term grades to a higher 30 percent, thus decreasing the third and fourth term weights to fifteen and ten percent, respectively. Due to the cancellation of final exams, the proposal opted to weigh the midterm year to a higher fifteen percent. However, the proposal’s effects do not end with the 2019-2020 school year. For the next three graduating classes, the first two terms of senior year will be used to calculate a student’s GPA.

In the proposal, Galante and Linsey acknowledge the effects that a change has on college admissions, but stress that this was carefully considered while drafting the proposal. Galante and Linsey cited that districts across the United States are impacted similarly and that college admissions will be different for the years to come in response.

The Bedford School Committee unanimously voted to adopt the updated grading proposal.


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