Individual remediation policies highlight unfairness

Remediation is that word that pops into so many of our minds when we know we need to do better in a class or we have just failed a test. But depending on which class you are concerned about, your experience with remediation can vary greatly. Marshall has no overarching remediation policy; instead each department is allowed to choose its own policy, and even then some classes within the department may have differing policies. From what we have seen in some of our own experiences, these policies can greatly vary.

Take the history department for example. The history department uses standards based grading, meaning once you have met a certain criteria you have an “A” or a “B” or so on for that descriptor. For every assignment given in IB history, you will have the opportunity to take that assignment again, allowing multitudes of opportunities to get to improve your grade.

However, in the math department, once you turn in a quiz or a test the grade that you get on it is set in stone, a permanent fixture on your quarter grade. So if you were to receive a poor grade in your math class, because maybe you had a bad day or something came up and you had less time to study, that poor grade would continue to hurt your overall quarter grade for the entire quarter. But, if you were to receive that same poor grade in your history class, you would have the opportunity to reassess on that assignment, canceling out your poor grade and causing minimal stress.

Allowing for each department to have their own remediation policy is inherently unfair to the student population. Everyone has differing strengths and weaknesses across the academic world. Some students may perform better in subjects where there is no remediation, and worse in subjects where there is remediation, causing them to be given an unfair advantage in an environment where grades are possibly the most important things in our lives. High School is supposed to be a time where you can explore your interests and figure out how you learn. It seems only right that in this kind of environment, when you fail you should be allowed to try again.

We understand the concern that certain departments cite as justification for not allowing remediation, the fear that the system will be abused and students will not study because they know they can just try again later. However this denies an opportunity to students who messed up and really want to make an effort to improve their grades. High School is basically a big trial and error experiment, and in our opinion you should always be allowed to try again.