Francis Lewis Implements a New Grading Policy


Francis Lewis High School has implemented a new grading policy this school year across all departments. This new grading policy stresses the importance of being in class. Various assessments like tests, quizzes, and projects are now making up 65% of your average. Work done in class is now 35% of your average. Each department can alter it by adding homework as a grade.

“The biggest change you probably will find, depending on the department, is a more heavy emphasis on the grading of the work that’s happening in the classroom,” principal Dr. Marmor said. “Ultimately, if you want to narrow it down to what the biggest shift is,  it was moving more of the value of the points into what you do in the classroom every day.”

The new grading policy was implemented as a result of what Dr. Marmor noticed in his visits to the classrooms and attendance data last year.

“The reason we did that was we were starting to notice last year, specifically coming out of the pandemic, that we were having attendance and lateness issues,” Dr. Marmor said.

“So we adjusted the grading policy to make sure that a good, sizable, significant amount of the way you are graded was based on you being in the class and doing the work with your teachers, which we value. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have schools,” Dr. Marmor said.

Some students feel that the emphasis placed on assessments is too high and unfair to students who struggle with test taking.

“I think it would be better to lower the test part of our average to 50% or lower,” sophomore Serena Zheng said. “I am not a good test taker, and I have test-taking anxiety. It doesn’t help when taking tests, especially when I know that the grade I get will be the majority of my average.”

“I am borderline failing math because I am a horrible test taker,” Zheng added. “I also did poorly on one of my AP Seminar tests,  it brought my grade down quite a bit.”

Contrary to many students’ beliefs, the focus on tests in the new grading policy has actually been lowered rather than raised. 

“It went down, actually,” Dr. Marmor said. “It went down a lot. In fact, in math, it used to be 80-90%, and we dropped it to 65%. So in almost every subject it went down. The only place it may have gone up was maybe English since English was very heavy the other way.”

In addition to a new grading policy this school year, students are also experiencing a heavier workload compared to last year.

“Well, this year we have a lot of work, an extensive workload,” junior Salaar Ali said. “Not only do we have more work to do, more stress and we are consuming more time working on it, we’re also having to worry about how impactful it is.”  

“It’s manageable as long as the school is compliant and makes it easier for us. If the grading policy reduces the impact [of] tests and whatnot, it will make it easier for students to have a great grade.”

Many teachers reduced the workload last year and were lenient in grading or accepting late assignments because it was the first year back of in-person learning after the pandemic. Many students and faculty at Francis Lewis were still testing positive for COVID last school year and experiencing severe symptoms, thus missing several days of school.

“I don’t think that the workload is that intense, but I do find that students are having trouble keeping up,” English teacher Ms. Andriotis said. “During COVID there was a lot of leniency, especially because students were sick or had family members that were ill, and now it’s back to reality and we’re not taking work from September anymore, so we do have set deadlines.  Sometimes students are not able to meet them or they’re choosing not to meet them.”

Along with the new grading policy, Francis Lewis students don’t have a consistent grading system this school year.  Some students believe the lack of a grading system also plays a role in their academic struggles.

“We have the new grading policy, and the fact that our school doesn’t even have a grading book for students to see their own grades makes it difficult,” Ali said. “Most students don’t even know what their grade is, and they’re just slaving away.”

The lack of a grading system has also affected the ability of administration to monitor the implementation of the new grading policy.

“As an administration, whether it’s PupilPath or the DOE system or it’s another system, anyone of those systems would give me the ability to look at the grade books, see if the teachers are using the grading policy properly, and look at how the impact of the grading policy is on the actual grade books, but we have no grade books,” Dr. Marmor said. “Because we have no grade books, I have much less of an ability to even check if the teachers are even using the policy correctly.”