The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

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Verbatim: Students and teachers reflect on math grading policy one semester in

At the beginning of this year, the Palo Alto High School math department changed its grading policy. Now, the lowest percentage needed for an A- is 90% rather than 88%. Similar changes were applied to the cutoffs of other letter grades. Teachers cited being more in line with other schools and the lower difficulty of courses in recent years as reasons for the changes.

The Paly Voice interviewed Paly students and staff about their thoughts on the change one semester into their math courses.

“For students who are on that line of 90% it’s [the grade change] pretty decisive. I have many friends who are currently studying really, really hard to get an A. Some of them have to get a 98% in finals to get 90%. That’s way too stressful. Eighty-eight percent would be a much better boundary in terms of overall stress management and just basic school performance.”

— junior Marco Li

“It [the new grading policy] hasn’t affected me too much grade-wise because I’ve been studying a lot more than I used to. But, at the same time, I feel like having that leeway of just 2% is really good, especially for curbing the amount of perfection that’s often associated with Paly students. Having a buffer of 88 to 90 is a good thing, and I don’t know why they took it away.”

— senior Emma Wang

“I haven’t really noticed any change in the letter distribution, but we haven’t had a full semester [yet] … Kids are rising to the occasion and teachers are doing whatever they need to do to make things have them reach the bar.”

— math Instructional Lead Natalie Docktor

“Past years’ grading policies might have made the class too easy since my grade was inflated a lot. I believe it will help with grade inflation a little bit, so I think they should keep it.”

— senior Jake Wanderer

“It was nice having that extra bumper last year, but I get why they did it [change to new policy] because it was a little bit inconsistent with everything else. … I also feel like my math class this year is easier too. I don’t know if they’ve adjusted for that, or algebra is just easier than geometry for me.”

— sophomore Elise Andrade

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About the Contributors
Ketan Altekar-Okazaki, Managing Editor
Ketan Altekar-Okazaki (Class of 2024) joined The Voice his junior year and enjoys volunteering in his free time.
Carissa Tsui, Managing Editor
Carissa Tsui (Class of 2024) joined The Voice her junior year and her favorite show is Survivor. Also, her favorite color is red and her favorite animal is the ocean sponge.

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