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The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

Is Everyone at Latin a Winner?

Is Everyone at Latin a Winner?

by Emilia Rose, Staff Writer
“You can still get an A.” 
“There are no cuts.” 
“Everyone wins the lower school olympics.” 
These are merely some scenarios at Latin in which the “everyone’s a winner” mentality is employed. A survey of the Latin community revealed a wide variety of personal experiences and opinions.
Students can now improve their grades on most assignments through reassessments, a relatively new concept to Latin. While reassessments are convenient for students, have they created an easy route to an A? “Our biggest priority is that you learn the material” said Science Department Chair, Ms. Schmadeke. “We want to challenge students to keep working on those concepts. If students take one test per unit and do not do well, they may not have been given the chance to reach mastery. I don’t mind that my students take multiple tries to get there,” she said.
As Standards Based Grading (SBG) is now embedded into Latin’s curriculum, the concern is the possibility of grade inflation under SBG. Upper School Director Mr. Greer specified what is actually occurring within Latin’s grading system and how it benefits students. “We’re not moving away from letter grades,” he said, “Every student that is in 5th grade and up will have a letter grade for all classes,” although some classes do not record first-quarter grades in an effort to “decrease stress.” He explains that SBG is a way for students to indicate improvement and that faculty is now giving specific feedback on each learning objective, further allowing students to improve with more detail than simply a letter. 
Aside from grades, sports at Latin can also send students a message of everyone being at a shared elite level. Sophomore Sumner Keogh plays ice hockey for the Romans, and describes how the “no cuts” policy impacts her. “Sometimes I feel like we aren’t playing to win but playing to give everyone an equal opportunity, almost making it not competitive.” Sumner explained that being one of the more experienced players on the team, she doesn’t always get that acknowledgement because everyone on the team is “the same.” 
Senior Madelyn Hill was a member of the track team and describes an experience she had that made her feel over accomplished. “I was given a spot as a thrower,” she said. “Even though I got last place at every meet, I was still considered a member of the team because only two girls [myself included] were representing Latin for throwing.” 
This mentality also bears significance in theater and the arts. Madelyn recalled another moment in her 1st grade Latin production where she felt its effects. “My earliest experience with this was in the 1st grade when I was a rock in The Jungle Book. Yes, it’s funny to look back, but my role was not vital to the production, yet they wanted everyone to feel valued. With that being said, I think that the part of the rock did not make me feel like a ‘winner.’” 
Junior Nicole Lucas described a time where she didn’t feel like she was recognized enough. “There was a time where I put a lot of effort into a certain assignment, and the teacher realized no one put that much effort into it, and it doesn’t end up being graded. It was very frustrating because the people who actually tried hard don’t get any credit.”  
From these accounts, it is evident that the “everyone’s a winner” mentality has both positive and negative consequences – while it may lead everyone to think they’re the best, it also serves to help every member of the Latin community feel recognized.

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  • B

    beaparrNov 18, 2019 at 12:02 am

    Such an interesting array of perspectives! You did a great job of tackling such a complicated topic.

  • R

    Robert IgbokweNov 17, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    Fantastic article, Emilia!! I love how much you’re growing as a writer for The Forum!! 🙂 🙂 This is a really interesting topic and I think you did a wonderful job finding a diverse array of voices. I agree, the mentality is definitely present at our school but not necessarily always a bad thing. I think sometimes feeling special is exactly what people need to be their best selves. Well… sometimes

  • F

    Frank TemponeNov 17, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    Peter made that change. I think it’s correct now.

  • K

    Kirk GreerNov 17, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    Thanks for the article on an important topic! One correction: some classes don’t report quarter grades. Letter grades are reported for at the semester break for all classes, including those with standards-based grading.

  • L

    Lang KanaiNov 17, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    Very interesting perspectives!

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Is Everyone at Latin a Winner?