80/20 disadvantages outweigh advantages


The Mirror reporter

Is the 80/20 grading scale at SPASH fair and why do we do this?  Is it the best opportunity for the students?  Unfortunately, no.

The 80/20 system breaks up your grade into two parts, 80% (summative), and 20% (formative).

“The 80% category has to show that the student understands what is being taught,” Stevens Point Area Senior High School (SPASH) assistant principal Brigitta Altmann-Austin said.

Teachers have the option to break up the 80%.  For example, in a science class, the summative part of your grade could be 50% tests and 30% labs.  I know this has helped me in my science classes.

Just like any other system, there are always pros and cons.

One benefit of the 80/20 grading scale is that it really does show if the student understands the material being taught.  It also gives you the grade you deserve.

“The kind of person you are and how you comply with your teachers can be depicted by your grades, not if you learned the material,” Altmann-Austin said.  This is one aspect of the corrupt grading system that I do agree with.  I feel it does show if you understand what you are learning, but only if you are a good test taker.

Could the system be unfair for some students?  “Potentially if you’re a bad test taker, but are there other ways you can show your knowledge? Like face-to-face or making a Power Point to show what you know?” Altmann-Austin said.

I personally think yes, there are other ways to show your knowledge.  I am not a great test taker.  I understand the material and then get to the test and forget everything.  One way that I have seen teachers allow students to show their knowledge in a different way is summative projects.

I think the 80/20 grading system has more downfalls than benefits.  Albert Einstein once said, it is like asking an elephant, fish, turtle, dog, and monkey to climb a tree.  Yes, some will succeed, but more will fail.  Everyone has different strengths, needs, gifts and dreams and yet we feel the system works.  We have had the same systems in school for over 150 years.  Times have changed, it is time to make a change to our education.