Navigating the matrix

As of the 2019-2020 school year, WHHS has done away with the former grade matrix in place for an algebraic calculation to determine the students’ final semester grade. WHHS has in turn reacted with mixed emotions.

Abby Jay

As of the 2019-2020 school year, WHHS has done away with the former grade matrix in place for an algebraic calculation to determine the students’ final semester grade. WHHS has in turn reacted with mixed emotions.

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As students spend countless hours working on assignments, studying for numerous quizzes and tests and fabricating countless projects, one thing remains on all of their minds: The final grade. 

Exams, administered at the end of each semester, often determine the grades that students receive for the semester. Grades in past years were typically determined by the well-known grade matrix, but for the 2019-2020 school year, a change has been implemented at WHHS.

The grade matrix that many students have grown accustomed to has now been done away with for a fifty point percentage model, in which each quarter is 40% of the semester grade and the final exam/assessment will be 20% of the grade, in order to match the information in the Cincinnati Public School’s handbook. 

Guidance counselor Adrian Cabrera said that this change in the grading system has pros and cons and could cause students to be “more prepared for exams, which could end up being either good or bad.”

[The district was] looking for what was best for CPS as a whole, not just [WHHS].”

— Adrian Cabrera

Going off of that, there are mixed feelings regarding how the removal of the matrix will affect the students at WHHS. On one hand, the removal could encourage students to take semester exams more seriously, as there is now more weight on the semester exam grade than there was with the matrix. Chemistry teacher Jeff Lazar agrees with this notion, saying that “[the change is] going to be worth it.”

On the other hand, the weeks leading up to exams, which are already a stressful time for many students, could place a larger strain on the students’ mental health than has been applied in past years. Students already have obligations outside of academics, and adding more pressure on semester exams may not help with that. 

Some students did not even know that there was a change made to the grade matrix in the first place, as the topic was not something that was broadcasted to the entire student body. Iris Westphall, ‘24, said that the removal of the grade matrix was “news to me.” She also added that “[the change] would affect how people study topics and how they go about the exam.” 

SENIOR Collin Trissel found the change in grade matrix to be a “major disruption to my last year. Ever since 7th grade I have been used to the grade matrix, and such a subtle change without warning shouldn’t have happened in the first place, since it adds an unneeded stress to students.”

According to the CPS district, the change was incurred for what they believe would be beneficial for their students. “[The district was] looking for what was best for CPS as a whole, not just [WHHS],” Cabrera said.

Overall, the removal of the grade matrix will definitely bring a change to the WHHS community, but it remains to be seen the type of change, as this is the first year that this is being implemented.