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Science department must integrate Marzano Scale into grading method

Inez Stephenson
The science department’s grading system is not aligned with other standards-based departments like English and social studies. Therefore, science classes must integrate the Marzano Scale to restore consistency across the curriculum.

A few months ago, I received my first test back in my Science 10 class. My eyes spotted three “meetings” where I had demonstrated proficiency in each standard, and I immediately felt at ease. Upon opening my Schoology grade book, my smile faded as the grade “B-plus” shone from the screen.

A few days prior, I also received all “meetings” on a World Civilizations II paper. When looking at the Marzano Scale, I saw it equated to an A. Thus, you can understand my frustration upon realizing that meeting the standards in science did not also equate to an A.

I couldn’t help but question the discrepancy between the grading equation system in science classes compared to other departments. 

According to Assistant High School Principal Natalie Maisey, the science department grades assessments for all non-Advanced Placement courses using the Next Generation Science Standards. These are a group of K-12 science standards that set guidelines for science classroom content while granting teachers pedagogical freedom. In High School classes, these standards are converted into a percentage with each standard equating to a different value out of nine. 

The High School science grading system must be adapted in order to enhance consistency between departments and to allow students to demonstrate growth over time.

Currently, other standard-based classes include non-AP world language and social studies classes. However, the language and social studies departments use the grade equation system, called the Marzano Scale, to convert the standard grade into a letter grade.


The science grading system is inconsistent with most other High School courses. For example, a science student who is graded proficient in all standards will receive a B-plus, while a student also earning all proficients in a social studies elective class that uses the Marzano Scale will receive an A-minus.

Additionally, the Marzano Scale is an extremely forgiving and supportive method of grading as it allows students to improve over time. In semester one, the requirements to achieve a certain letter grade are lower than in the second semester. As a result, students are encouraged to strive for growth, pushing them to achieve higher results. 

The information I learn in my science class often takes me a lot of time to fully grasp. Therefore, implementing the Marzano Scale would benefit students who initially find such courses difficult because it encourages them to keep improving as the year progresses.

Science courses differ greatly in content from those of social studies and languages, yet this is not a reason to have different grading systems. All three departments grade assessments based on rubrics. Therefore, to be more consistent, they should all translate their standards into letter grades using the Marzano Scale.

It is essential for departments to establish consistency, otherwise, students who hold strengths in science classes, but not social studies classes – and vice versa – will not receive equivalent grades despite equivalent strengths in the two separate fields

Integrating the Marzano Scale into science classes will not only give students who hold different areas of strength equal results but will also inspire students to develop their skills throughout the year.

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About the Contributor
Inez Stephenson, Media Team
Inez Stephenson ('26) is a member of the Media Team of The Standard in Advanced Journalism.

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