The Pitfalls of the Rolling Grade in Math

FCPS high school students are hurt with the new math grading system: the rolling gradebook.


Allison O'Shea

Catherine Ferro-Manzanares disapproves of the new math grading system.

Catherine Ferro-Manzanares, Staff Writer

Upon starting the 2018-2019 school year, Lee students were introduced to the rolling grade in their math classes. The concept of the rolling math grade is you begin each new quarter with the grade that you received in your previous quarter. While it is great that the math department is attempting to find new ways and methods to help students achieve good grades, incorporating the rollover grade was a drastic and unfair change to which students are still struggling to adjust.

At the beginning of this school year, I was a new sophomore from out of state, attending Lee High School for the first time and taking Algebra 2 honors. Learning about the rolling math grade was new to me and I struggled with the challenges of Algebra 2. As I continued through the first quarter, it felt like my grade was in the grave and reviving it was becoming more and more difficult. At the beginning of my second quarter, I switched into a regular Algebra 2 class. I began the quarter with the sixty percent F I had received in Algebra 2 honors. Even so, I was determined to redeem myself and get the grade that I knew I was capable of.

I was disappointed to find that the concept of the rolling grade made it very hard for me to bring my grade up. My percentage from my first quarter spent in Algebra 2 honors was pitiful and in order for me to raise my grade, I had to score very well in test and quizzes in my regular Algebra ll class. I also had to rely on the hope that my new teacher would assign enough quizzes and tests for me to be able to balance out the number of bad grades I received in Algebra 2 honors.

Like me, other students at Lee had trouble adjusting to their new math classes in the first quarter. This is to be expected, as we are given a new curriculum and a different teacher every year. When asking Lee students from different math classes what their opinion is on the rollover math grade, many of them did not favor the new grading system. A majority of students say that not being able to begin the quarter with a fresh start has made math more difficult for them. It is harder for students to bring their grade up when they are forced to begin with a low grade and this causes them to struggle even more in the class.

I asked several people around the school about their opinion on the rolling grade with the question. Most of the students who were asked the question are in geometry, algebra two and IB HL math,  and I found that the general opinion on this controversial topic at Lee is against the rollover math grade.

Sophomore Sameer Baig a student in geometry with Ms. Sites, views the rolling grade as something that penalizes students. “It becomes harder for kids who have an F in the class to raise it. They can’t start off fresh, which puts a lot of stress on them,” Baig said.

The rolling grade isn’t beneficial for students, especially those who struggle in math. Those who are good at math are going to be able to maintain their grade and won’t have any problems with this grading system change since they finish off every quarter strong. But students who struggle with math have to hassle with their grades.

If the grade book wasn’t rolled over, I, along with other Lancers, would start their quarters with a fresh start and new beginnings. Yes, it might be a beneficial system for teachers who won’t have to cram in new work and units, but in reality, it hurts the student. When deciding to make a change this big, the students well being should always come first.