by John Hawkins | February 25, 2003 9:47 pm
Our Sliding Education Standards In Tennessee: I was reading Ravenwood’s page and I came across a link to this ridiculous item in the Tennessean…
“No more zeroes.
Assigning a grade no lower than 50 for Metro’s youngest students is the most startling proposal in a new set of grading guidelines up for final discussion next month.
But eliminating the goose eggs is an idea that makes sense, Chief Instructional Officer Sandy Johnson said.
”To me, the most critical piece is that these are 6- to 9-year-old children,” Johnson said. ”When children are in kindergarten through fourth grade, our goal is to teach them the skills.
”I think we have to be really careful about grading, that we don’t do things that really devastate children and don’t give an accurate reflection of their work.”
So apparently “Chief Instructional Officer Sandy Johnson” thinks we should give a kid who misses 100 out of 100 questions on a quiz a 50, because giving them a zero wouldn’t be an “accurate reflection of their work???” Oh boy, if this is the, “Chief Instructional Officer” these kids are in trouble. But wait, it get’s even better (or worse for the kids)…
“Under the proposals, teachers would be encouraged to give a minimum number of assignments to average for the final grade. Letter grades would be assigned on a 10-point scale, with 90-100 equal to an A and grades 59 or lower rating an F.
Homework grades would rarely be used in computing the final mark.
”We didn’t want homework to become a major component of the grade (because) children might not have support at home or help at home,” said Martha Hayes, Metro’s executive director for grades 4-12. ”Sometimes it’s appropriate to grade homework, especially in terms of long-term projects. But we don’t want that to be the major part of a child’s grade.”
So they don’t want to give kids grades lower than 50, they don’t want homework to be a factor, and you only have to get a 60 to get a passing grade? I couldn’t disagree more strongly with letting kids slide by like that. As a matter of fact, I genuinely feel sorry a kid who passes a class after doing pathetic work that he deserved to be held back for. You know why? Because once you start making excuses for people’s mediocrity, they come to expect it. Yeah, they say this is for 6-9 year olds, but those kids are going to turn 10 one day and then what are they going to do after coasting through three years of school? What happens when they’re asked to do homework? What happens when that zero does count as part of their grades? If anything, they’re going to be less prepared than they would have been otherwise because they haven’t been challenged.
Even if the teachers let these kids skate all the way through school, eventually little Johnny and Janey are going to have to face the music when they get into the real world where they have to compete with people and organizations that are smarter, more experienced, more talented, better financed, and better connected than they are. When you do get to that point, you better be able to suck it up and keep on going. Take it from someone who hated high school and college with a passion, all that homework and strife and struggle to get decent grades pays off beyond the knowledge you acquire from it. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the kids who worked their butts off to get Cs are probably better off than the kids who made straights As with no efforts. That’s because persistency, consistency, and discipline are in many respects, much more important than raw talent. So by giving some of these kids a free pass, these teachers aren’t doing them any favors and I hope the parents will step in and say so.
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