Making It Harder to Fail in School

School districts across the country, like those in Fairfax County, Virginia, and Prince George County, Maryland, are taking a second look at grades and opting for “zero policies” for middle and high school students. The result: It’s impossible for children to get grades below 50%, even in the face of absolute failure or even cheating – as long as, that is, “a reasonable attempt” has been made.

Additionally, now before high school teachers can flunk students, they must first re-evaluate them using “quality points,” making an F less detrimental to a final grade.

Remember that quality points refer to the cumulative points used to calculate a student’s grade point average, or GPA, at the end of the year. In the calculation, an A = 4 points; a B = 3 points; a C = 2 points; a D = one point; with none for an F. For example, if a student gets an A (4 credits) on a 3-credit course, they will end up receiving a total of 12. Conversely, a B (3 credits) on a 4-credit course also gives 12, while a C (2 points) in a 2-credit course gives 4, and so on.

Needless to say, controversy swirls around the “No Zero” policy, with educators on both sides of the argument. Proponents say they…

  1. Provide more opportunities to catch up on tests and submit missing work;
  2. improving dropout rates;
  3. Help struggling students stay motivated;
  4. allow schools to focus on learning instead of behavior;
  5. Increase focus in the classroom;
  6. Are fairer than typical rating systems;
  7. promote learning;
  8. Encourage students to catch up when they fall behind instead of giving up;
  9. Increase a student’s chances of improving their grades, which is impossible with a zero.

It all sounds classy, ​​but not everyone believes in it. As a 9th grade English teacher put it, “It gives a way out for the kids who aren’t willing to put in the hard work like everyone else.” Other dissenting educators also point out that such guidelines…

  1. Reduce student accountability;
  2. reduce motivation;
  3. improve grades artificially;
  4. Mask a student’s lack of knowledge and understanding;
  5. Push on unprepared students;
  6. jeopardize student readiness for college and/or careers;
  7. Are related to social promotion;
  8. Hinder thoroughness and conscientiousness;
  9. Are not in line with college professors’ evaluation guidelines;
  10. Do not realistically prepare students for college and/or the workplace;
  11. Don’t forget that employers don’t issue bad work cards.

Nonetheless, impossible-to-fail strategies are gaining ground, with some schools aiming to ditch grades altogether. Because “grades are relics from a less enlightened time,” says education expert and author Alfie Kohn, claiming that they are not only unnecessary but also harmful.

What are you saying?

Thanks to Carol Josel | #Making #Harder #Fail #School

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