Death of the 50% rule


Photo by Caroline Harless

With the removal of the 50% Rule, many students are now failing their classes, receiving low scores on tests and assignments.

By Caroline Harless, Doesn't Know What to Put Here

The “50% Rule” is something that all students undeniably benefit from. The rule prevents students from receiving a grade lower than 50% on all assignments, quizzes and tests, functioning as a safety net that boosts GPAs and keeps students happy. However, recently it has faced much criticism for not adequately preparing students for college. In response to the backlash, the MCPS Board of Education (BOE) held a meeting on March 29, where they ultimately decided to remove the 50% Rule.

With the 50% Rule gone, students can now earn 0-49% on assignments starting in the fourth quarter. As students across MCPS have always relied on the 50% Rule, this new policy has shocked many. 

“The BOE getting rid of the 50% Rule is outrageous,” WCHS junior Ghatah Z. Roe said. “Everyone I know depends on not getting below 50% on assignments to keep their grades up. It’s completely absurd; how is the BOE allowed to do this to us? They need to reverse the decision.”

While the rule was still in place, incomplete assignments automatically defaulted to 50%. This enabled many students not to complete their work, but now that the rule has changed, grades are dropping, and concerns are rising. 

“I don’t want to receive zeros on incomplete assignments instead of 50%,” Roe said. “I preferred being lazy and getting 50%, but now they’re requiring us to actually do work, which angers me. It’s ridiculous! My grades are definitely going to tank because of this.”

Despite student worries, many teachers supported removing the 50% Rule. Giving students underserved grades for late and poorly done assignments can be frustrating, but now some teachers plan to grade harsher, even giving zeros when work is not up to par. 

“I know students are unhappy with the BOE for removing the 50% Rule, but I’m thrilled,” WCHS AP Conspiracy Theory teacher Muunlandi Faike said. “Back in my day, if you failed, you failed. Now, students slack off and still expect to pass. Some teachers still won’t give zeros, but I look forward to failing students. Any subpar theories that students create in my class will receive a zero from me.” 

In response to the 50% Rule being removed, WCHS students have organized a walkout. Students plan to walk out at the beginning of sixth period on April 8 to protest the removal of the rule and get the BOE to reinstate it. 

“We organized the walkout because students won’t sit back and let this happen,” WCHS junior Vylance Izkey, head planner of the walkout, said. “It’s our constitutional right to fight for freedom as we are being oppressed. So far, over 300 students are confirmed to walk out, but the total number will probably be closer to most of the school. I’m super proud of everyone deciding to walk out. Doing the right thing is very important.”

Besides the walkout, talk of bigger plans has been circulating. In the past, walkouts have been ineffective, forcing students to find new methods to ensure the 50% Rule goes back into effect. As the fourth quarter approaches, students desperate to revert the decision are not showing any mercy in their efforts. 

“The walkout isn’t all, though,” Izkey said. “I’ve encouraged fellow students to take drastic measures to regain the 50% Rule. We found the addresses of BOE members and have been loudly rioting outside their houses for the past week. It hasn’t been super successful, but the best is yet to come. Just yesterday, I organized a militia, and we plan to storm the BOE building soon. Mark my words: the 50% Rule hasn’t seen its final days. We won’t go down without a fight.”