The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

Due to Athletic Eligibility Requirements, a New Grading Policy Makes it the Quarter that Counts

Students may be surprised to see an improvement in their grade following the end of each quarter this year. SHHS has adopted the Ohio High School Athletic Association quarterly grading policy due to athletic eligibility issues.

In previous years, the grading policy was a semester-based system. For example, if a student earned a B in a class at the end of the first quarter, the grade would carry over to the second quarter. Now, following the changes, a B first quarter will become a 0.00 at the beginning of second quarter until the first assignment is entered. The teacher will combine the quarter and exam grades into the semester grade. It is unclear whether the quarter grades will show on a transcript. The middle school used this policy, so it may be familiar to students who attended there.

Although some may believe these changes were made to benefit students, why were they necessary? According to Principal Michael Griffith, during an attempt at a school-to-school student transfer, the OHSAA viewed the student’s transcript to assure athletic eligibility and noticed that the grading was based on semesters. The OHSAA requested a change in Shaker’s eligibility policy—one that had been incorrect by OHSAA standards for decades.

Although Shaker may have been allowing ineligible athletes to compete, the OHSAA will issue no punishment or sanctions.

“Shaker has no punishment because there was no intent to violate rules. Shaker has had this policy for longer than I’ve been here. There would only be a problem if we hadn’t altered the policy,” Griffith said.

The OHSAA gave two options for the change; either the policy would be based on quarterly grades like other schools, or sports eligibility would become completely semester based. Shaker took the first option. If the district took the second option, it would mean that a student who was ineligible based on their June, second-semester grades would be ineligible until the next semester grades came out in January. This would make the student ineligible during both the fall and winter seasons. Under the quarterly policy, athletes will need to pass every quarter, rather than every semester, to remain eligible.

Many teachers were concerned about how semester grades would be determined based on grades from each quarter. Griffith believes that it should not be an issue and that teachers will have the final discretion in assigning grades based on achievement.

Elizabeth Plautz, an AP U.S. History and AP/IB Economics teacher, is concerned that grade calculation will be more difficult under the changed system.

“The new policy is a challenge because for APUSH, National History Day is worth 17 percent of a student’s grade for the semester. There’s now more math to deal with to calculate grades,” Plautz said.

She also expressed concern that it will be harder for parents and students to see cumulative grades during the year.

“It will be more difficult for parents and students to understand the student’s achievement for a given segment of the school year. They’d want a better picture of the grading period as a whole,” she said. Overall, however, Plautz does not think the move to quarter grades will be significant. “ Change is a hard adjustment, but I think ultimately the change won’t have that big of an effect,” she said.

For students, Griffith expects that a fresh start each quarter may motivate and enable them to attain higher grades. Students who don’t do well first quarter, may find their attitudes improve when they are given a chance at a higher grade second quarter and a better semester average.

“There should be no negative impact,” Griffith said. “The policy will up the ante for athletes. Students may like the idea of a fresh start each quarter, but in the end, the grades students will receive will likely be the same they would have under the old policy.”

Junior wrestler Nick Adamson believes that although some students may be affected by the change, the results will ultimately be the same.

“I think that athletes will have to do better to keep up with schoolwork to stay eligible each quarter, but I don’t think that the change will affect the grades most students earn in the long run,” Adamson said. “If a student usually performs well, they will probably continue to, and the same for students who don’t perform well.”

A version of this article appeared in print on 19 September 2012, on page 2 of

The Shakerite.

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