South Hadley High School Introduces New Running Grade System

Sasha Plotniak and Summer Avisata-Taylor

South Hadley High School recently made the switch to running grades after years of quarter-to-quarter grading. Wondering what running grades are? So were some of the students. When asked about his feelings on running grades, sophomore Nathan Sarrazin asked “Wait, what even is that?” To answer that question, running grades are having a continuous grade for the entire school year instead of starting fresh every quarter. 

We had the opportunity to talk to the school principal, Ms. Woods, about why the high school made the switch to running grades this year. She explained that the school noticed a lot of negative effects that quarter-to-quarter grading had on students over the years. Whether it was something personal going on that made a student do poorly one quarter, or snow days taking away tests and quizzes, the administration realized that it was unfair to have quarter grades on a student’s transcript. The school’s goal with running grades is to hopefully see a positive effect on students’ grades and mental health.

To get a better understanding of how the students feel about running grades, we interviewed a few of our peers, many of which agreed with sophomore Moira Doolittle when she said “I absolutely hate running grades.” Moira had plenty to say about her strong dislike for the new grading system, but sophomore Paige Robitaille summed it up well when she said “ It doesn’t give students the chance to redeem themselves towards the end of the year.” Since students only have one grade that is constantly being added to for the whole school year, anything in the last couple months won’t really make a significant difference for students who are trying to bring their grade up. This is causing a wave of disapproval from some of the student body; however, not all of the students’ feelings are negative.

Unlike the students who think running grades are causing more stress, some students are confident that running grades will relieve a lot of the stress that they normally experience at the end of the quarter. When asked about how she felt about the running grade system, Junior Gianna Scibelli responded with “I like it so far because making up work probably won’t be as stressful.” With COVID-19 and remote learning, this will probably be recognized by a lot of students this year.

Sarrazin echoed similar feelings as Scibelli when he said “I like it because students’ grades won’t be starting over every quarter.” Obviously, this is a huge contrast from the students that dislike the new grading system.

Overall, there are a lot of mixed feelings about the new running grade system. It is unknown yet whether running grades will just be for this year, or if this is the high school’s new permanent grading system.