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The Standard

The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

The Standard

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Committing to academic uniformity

The Standard’s Editorial Board has, in the past, called for uniformity in grading policies across academic departments.  And, while the administration has agreed that this is important, we have seen no evidence ensuring that this uniformity is actually accomplished. We believe that this lack of action comes simply because there is nothing that concretely states what these policies should be. The lack of rigid departmental guidelines creates unequal opportunities and experiences between students taking either the same or similar courses. 

We believe that concrete academic policies need to be specifically written out for each department, detailing what is expected of students and teachers in each and every class. What is written in this code should be at the discretion of the faculty members in that department as a whole, and not solely from the administration or the department head.

These statutes should not only apply to grading policies, but also to anything from whether or not homework will be entered as a completion grade or a letter grade, whether or not test or quiz corrections should be allowed, how Haiku pages should be organized, or even if classes in that department should allow their students 5 minute breaks.

We  acknowledge that the World Languages and Culture and English departments have already made positive steps towards accomplishing uniformity in that sense, but we believe that this atmosphere needs to be more transcendent within the school.

There are already written academic guidelines at the school, but these are essentially unknown to the student body. New, written academic standings would be the best way to try to eradicate all issues regarding uniformity and obsoletism across classes. And beyond just writing these policies, they need to be as hammered into students’ and teachers’ mind as a document as the Code of Conduct.

In addition to adding clarity, it would limit complaints from the student body. Not only would this allow each student to know exactly what is expected of them, but it paves the most ideal way for students to be on a level playing field when it comes to grades and general success in their classes.

With the school moving toward  a standards based curriculum, we think this is the ideal time to implement these guidelines.

We don’t want to limit a teacher’s freedom to teach in the style they deem best, nor force them into things they are uncomfortable with. We think that the diversified teaching styles at the school are what make our faculty so good at what they do. We simply want to ensure that all students have equal opportunity to achieve success under the same guidelines within a department. The current situation in departments allows for discrepancies between classes.

We believe that concrete departmental academic policies are the best way to eliminate these discrepancies, and holistically raise the bar for academic excellence.

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