Teachers’ thoughts on standardized academic policies


Brad Little

Benilde St.Margaret’s Introduces new Academic Policies.

Throughout each department at Benilde-St.Margaret’s, teachers are required to follow standardized academic policies such as grade weighting, late policy, assignment categorizing, and many other things. Policies have had some push back, but overall are popular among teachers.

BSM’s Abigal Ash believes that standardized academic policies in the math department push students to do better on the big stuff like summative assessments, but also gives them a chance to have their grade be boosted with formative assessments. “I think that there’s a benefit to it [by] kind of pushing students to take tests more seriously or take the summative assessments more seriously while also giving them an opportunity in formative assessment to still have a way to boost their grade,” Ash said.

We really are just trying to push building the [students’] skills to be better prepared

— Ash

Ash also believes that having these policies provides the needed continuity for each department and makes students understand their expectations. “I think it’s easier for students and parents if it’s a unified department policy. [Also], I think, as long as there’s some wiggle room there on what [teachers] allow to categorize things, that it’s okay to have department policies,” Ash said.

Not only the math department finds these policies beneficial. Fred Bandel from BSM’s history department agrees, and believes it gives needed structure to teaching. “I think last year in my first year, not having the policies, I kind of just winged it, and went along with what I thought was right. I think this year having department policies is beneficial. I think it … makes everyone know what you’re getting into going in,” Bandel said.

Though teachers find these policies important, they also appreciate being able to have a creative license in their classrooms. “[I have a rule that] no computers are allowed during classes, a lot of my students have to put their computer against the wall. And I found that so far it has been a lot more successful for students. It makes them use work time to actually get work done, and it’s less distracting to other people,” Ash said.

Some would say that these policies are for the students’ benefit, to help build necessary skills for college. “As a college prep school… We really are just trying to push building the [students’] skills to be better prepared and things like that,” Ash said.