Teachers, students react to grading guideline changes in South Carolina due to coronavirus pandemic

Teachers, students react to grading guideline changes in South Carolina due to coronavirus pandemic

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - James Agens said before the coronavirus pandemic there were a lot of things he took for granted.

He said, "Walking the halls, saying hi to my teachers, going to school. Everything was kind of taken away and I never really appreciated those experiences until they were gone."

Agens is learning from home like all other students in South Carolina. He is a high school senior and is unsure of how big events like prom and graduation will look like.

He said his fellow classmates understand why these events might need to be postponed.

Kailey Butler is also a high school senior. She said her hope is graduation is postponed rather than outright canceled, “Walking across that stage was something I’ve looked forward to for so many years.”

Students like Agens and Butler did get some clarity on how they’ll be graded for the rest of the year.

According to a memo sent out by the South Carolina Department of Education, all grades for this second semester will not be split up by quarter like they usually are. Instead of receiving two grades, students will get a single grade for the third and fourth quarters.

Butler said, "Knowing that we are going to be graded with the quarter three and quarter four grades together takes a weight off my shoulders."

Teachers agree.

Patrick Kelly is a teacher at Richland School District Two. He said, "This really alleviates a lot of the grading pressures for students and teachers around the fourth nine weeks."

Kelly said what we're experiencing is uncharted territory for everyone. He said many lessons are being learned.

"This is a good moment for us as a society to reflect on the fact that the education of a child isn’t just about achievement and test scores and grades," Kelly said.

Teachers like Mary Ann Sansonetti-Wood said it's important to work together to navigate through all of this. She said she is proud of how quickly teachers were able to adapt and create lessons plan for students to learn from home.

Sansonetti-Wood said she is missing seeing her students every day and tries to check up on them as much as she can.

Butler said, "Teachers work so hard every day to make sure we're safe at home and our families are safe. They are thinking about us as students and as people."

Agens said he's looking forward to walking the halls at his high school again. "As bad as the circumstances are, we are all still in this together," he said.

For more on the new guidelines for grading, graduation and virtual learning click here.

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