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<p>Thoughts on this schools' new grading policy?</p>
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<p> <a href="http://shine.yahoo.com/event/momentsofmotherhood/failure-is-impossible-for-high-school-students-no-really-2410739/" target="_blank">http://shine.yahoo.com/event/momentsofmotherhood/failure-is-impossible-for-high-school-students-no-really-2410739/</a><span style="display:none;"> </span></p>
 

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<p>Looks good. I expect a bunch of whining from the "we're too easy on those kids!" brigade, but maybe an emphasis on "we're making the kids LEARN" will get the whiners to chill out.</p>
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<p>Also, thank goodness I'm NOT in Mary Mathewson's school district. The only way she can think of to get kids to learn is to threaten them with Fs? Seriously? Her class is sooooo important that a kid had better pass it the first time or not graduate from high school??</p>
 

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<p>I would actually expect it leads to teachers being more willing to be tough with grading.  Many teachers give out pity Ds, b/c failing a struggling student is just so harsh.  This frees a teacher from having to choose between something that feels cruel by failing a good kid who just doesn't get the material or passing them even though they are unprepared for what comes next.</p>
 

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<p>*nod* exactly.</p>
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<p>What I find fascinating is that similar policies elsewhere are improving standardized test scores.</p>
 

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<p>I think it sounds great, but then again my kids go to an alternative school that doesn't give grades.</p>
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<p>It's not like an "Incomplete" is a brand new grading system or anything, though. They had that back when I was in college at a major state school in the dark ages. It wasn't across the board, but it was an option for some professors.</p>
 

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<p>The incomplete, traditionally and in the school where I teach, is a temporary situation. As in, if you don't "complete" the incomplete in two weeks time, the grade rolls to an F. So this system would be different.</p>
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<p>I'm really excited about movement towards "standards-based" school models which focus on students mastering state and national standards, rather than earning grades for semester long courses. They're graded on a rubric and create their own projects to demonstrate one or more standards in each content area. Once they've met the standards (proficiency) for all the grade level expectations, they're promoted to the next level. It's not even time based, which is the real issue with the traditional school model... that passing is all to often based on time spent in a seat, rather than demonstrating that you learned anything. </p>
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<p>Right now, this is mostly in charter schools, but whole school districts are moving to this model. Our family is planning a move based on this kind of career opportunity (seeing as I teach high school). I'm so over the traditional school model. Promoting students without demonstrated proficiency is a recipe for failure!</p>
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<p>The district I work for (and will send my kids to school in if we're still in the area then) has a no-fail grading system in some subjects. It has its advantages and disadvantages. For kids who are just slower learners, or who just didn't get it for a while and then suddenly the light bulb comes on, it works well. They might take a semester and a half to finish what is traditionally a semester's worth of work. No biggie, keeps them from having a big ol' F on their heads when really, they were learning the material. Where we run into difficulty is what to do when someone is just not putting in ANY effort. Their parent report states that they are "in progress," but that's kind of a misnomer if they haven't put forth any effort. It's an imperfect system, but, like I said, works well for students who are learning, just not at some arbitrary prescribed pace. Interestingly, we're having to move back closer to a graded system due to various factors way above my pay grade.</p>
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>blizzard_babe</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279812/high-school-students-can-t-fail#post_16054212"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>The district I work for (and will send my kids to school in if we're still in the area then) has a no-fail grading system in some subjects. It has its advantages and disadvantages. For kids who are just slower learners, or who just didn't get it for a while and then suddenly the light bulb comes on, it works well. They might take a semester and a half to finish what is traditionally a semester's worth of work. No biggie, keeps them from having a big ol' F on their heads when really, they were learning the material. Where we run into difficulty is what to do when someone is just not putting in ANY effort. Their parent report states that they are "in progress," but that's kind of a misnomer if they haven't put forth any effort.</p>
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<p>Hmm, need some way to say "looks like this student has no idea how to get started on this material and needs a chance to review the earlier material." And bump them back. Kids who really do need help will be relieved, kids who are just not working will be embarrassed into working. Er, to clarify, I mean the embarrassment would come from the student's own knowledge that they could've done the work in the harder class, but they made everyone think they couldn't.<br>
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>sapphire_chan</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279812/high-school-students-can-t-fail#post_16056922"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>blizzard_babe</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279812/high-school-students-can-t-fail#post_16054212"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>The district I work for (and will send my kids to school in if we're still in the area then) has a no-fail grading system in some subjects. It has its advantages and disadvantages. For kids who are just slower learners, or who just didn't get it for a while and then suddenly the light bulb comes on, it works well. They might take a semester and a half to finish what is traditionally a semester's worth of work. No biggie, keeps them from having a big ol' F on their heads when really, they were learning the material. Where we run into difficulty is what to do when someone is just not putting in ANY effort. Their parent report states that they are "in progress," but that's kind of a misnomer if they haven't put forth any effort.</p>
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<p>Hmm, need some way to say "looks like this student has no idea how to get started on this material and needs a chance to review the earlier material." And bump them back. Kids who really do need help will be relieved, kids who are just not working will be embarrassed into working. Er, to clarify, I mean the embarrassment would come from the student's own knowledge that they could've done the work in the harder class, but they made everyone think they couldn't.<br>
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Yeah... though the cases I'm talking about are pretty extreme and not the norm. Just your average everyday "whoops, I slacked off last semester" cases kind of take care of themselves when the student realizes they're not making progress. Often, sitting down and doing the math on the ol' "If you keep working at your current pace, you'll graduate in... wow, 2016," works for kids who have just gotten temporarily unmotivated.</p>
 

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<p><br>
I've never been a huge fan of the grading system. The two main reasons are 1) Just because someone gets a F it doesn't mean they fail and just because someone gets an A it doesn't mean they learned anything and 2) Far too much stress is put on the A and B portion of the grade scale. Seriously. A and B are both above average, if all or most students are getting A's and B's then it means that the class work is too easy for that particular group of students. C is average, and yet people react badly when they or their child gets one, like it means they are somehow not getting the ideas when in fact they are exactly at the point of the material not being too hard, and still have something they are learning as they work on it.</p>
<div class="quote-container"><br><div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>blizzard_babe</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279812/high-school-students-can-t-fail#post_16054212"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br>
 Where we run into difficulty is what to do when someone is just not putting in ANY effort. 
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<p>In that case the proper thing to do is figure out why they aren't putting in any effort. Where you sit down and deal with the student directly, find out did they just slack off for a semester? Did something happen recently to make school less of a priority? Is there something that is affecting how well they do in school? Is there an undiagnosed learning disability, is the work too hard, too easy, are you not focusing on school because your too busy writing a book or learning a trade on your own time? </p>
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<p>The kid who is not putting in any effort at all, and has no inclination to be putting in any effort at all could be rebuilding an old car on his or her own time because they want to get a head start on their dream job. Or they could be in a position where their style of learning and the schools style of teacher are in such conflict that doing the work is pointless, they aren't going to be learning anything even if they <em>did</em> put in the effort.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>MusicianDad</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279812/high-school-students-can-t-fail#post_16057277"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p><br>
I've never been a huge fan of the grading system. The two main reasons are 1) Just because someone gets a F it doesn't mean they fail and just because someone gets an A it doesn't mean they learned anything and 2) Far too much stress is put on the A and B portion of the grade scale. Seriously. A and B are both above average, if all or most students are getting A's and B's then it means that the class work is too easy for that particular group of students. C is average, and yet people react badly when they or their child gets one, like it means they are somehow not getting the ideas when in fact they are exactly at the point of the material not being too hard, and still have something they are learning as they work on it.</p>
<div class="quote-container"><br><div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>blizzard_babe</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279812/high-school-students-can-t-fail#post_16054212"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br>
 Where we run into difficulty is what to do when someone is just not putting in ANY effort. 
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<p>In that case the proper thing to do is figure out why they aren't putting in any effort. Where you sit down and deal with the student directly, find out did they just slack off for a semester? Did something happen recently to make school less of a priority? Is there something that is affecting how well they do in school? Is there an undiagnosed learning disability, is the work too hard, too easy, are you not focusing on school because your too busy writing a book or learning a trade on your own time? </p>
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<p>The kid who is not putting in any effort at all, and has no inclination to be putting in any effort at all could be rebuilding an old car on his or her own time because they want to get a head start on their dream job. Or they could be in a position where their style of learning and the schools style of teacher are in such conflict that doing the work is pointless, they aren't going to be learning anything even if they <em>did</em> put in the effort.</p>
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Well, there's a whole sociocultural/economic backdrop/context to the "why" that I really won't get into. Suffice it to say we have, especially in our village schools, some students who are old enough to have made the decision not to be in school any more and don't really get much out of it (again, for a variety of reasons; sometimes it's the stuff you named, occasionally it's... "other"), but continue attending because there isn't much else to do. Jobs are scarce, even if you have a high school diploma, and while traditional hunting/fishing/gathering are a big part of life and would be a very valid option for someone who didn't jive with school stuff, gas is so expensive that if you don't have a job (see previous), it's hard to get out. When students aren't interested in "school learning" just for learning's sake (my first choice), and aren't interested in the piece of paper at the end of the tunnel (extrinsic but the motivation that some students need), but are still in school "just because," it's a difficult situation. I'd like to see outcomes in different areas of the country. Ours has been largely positive, though there has been a LOT of whining. Previously, we WEREN'T failing large numbers of non-performing kids. They were advanced based on "seat time," often. The no-fail system basically made it IMPOSSIBLE to slide by with a barely-C, or a D, because you have to know all the material before you can consider yourself "passed." You have as long as you need, in theory, but you have to get it done before you can move on.</p>
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<p>ANNNNNNNNYWAAAAAAAY... overall, I think the no-fail system is positive. Like I said, for reasons well beyond my pay grade, it's largely being phased out, sort of, kind of, in a certain way, with some aspects remaining. Many of the issues we have stem from implementation/"fidelity of instruction" issues, partially due to the vast distances and relative isolation of our schools (our district covers a geographic area the size of West Virginia... so a bad teacher or principal can go unnoticed pretty easily). I'm not sure how things are going to pan out, but overall, I think that most of the issues that we've been having stem from implementation issues. It's DIFFICULT. It's much easier to say, "you do the work, you get the grade."</p>
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<p>Ungraded systems lead to all kinds of sticky situations, because at this time, ungraded systems (and no-fail systems quickly become "ungraded" because when everyone works at their own pace, you end up with mixed-age groupings pretty much right away) have to exist within larger graded systems. Our students' athletic eligibility with the state, for example, is a whole process I don't quite understand. So is the process by which students are put into grades according to the state. You have to pass a certain number of classes per year, but we often have students passing classes two weeks into a semester, or they come back from Christmas break and finish the one test they missed, or they're really good at one strand of a subject (say, fractions in math) and are working in several levels at once.</p>
 

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<p>Blizzare_babe, that actually sounds really awesome. It's really a pity that there's no real place for the kids to go though. My first inclination would be some kind of job-training/apprenticeship type thing, but that only works if there are openings in the relevant areas. Mind you, if a bus could be found to take a large group of older teens/young adults to jobs in another area (if those exist) that might do something. Ah well, I know your city(?) is already working on solutions, I'm just not seeing where reintroducing letter grades, what you said they were considering, would benefit matters.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>sapphire_chan</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279812/high-school-students-can-t-fail#post_16059458"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p><br>
Blizzare_babe, that actually sounds really awesome. It's really a pity that there's no real place for the kids to go though. My first inclination would be some kind of job-training/apprenticeship type thing, but that only works if there are openings in the relevant areas. Mind you, if a bus could be found to take a large group of older teens/young adults to jobs in another area (if those exist) that might do something. Ah well, I know your city(?) is already working on solutions, I'm just not seeing where reintroducing letter grades, what you said they were considering, would benefit matters.</p>
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NAK<br><br>
There's a shiny new job training facility, which also includes a GED program. You hit the nail on the head, though... Job availability is scarce in the villages. There are openings here in Bethel, but communities here aren't connected by roads (except a handful of nearby villages that you can get to by ice road in the winter). But yeah, there are other options ( GED in the villages and also a rockin' alternative boarding program here in Bethel).<br><br>
They're not totally ditching the program, and I'm not entirely sure how the changes will affect the no-fail system in those subject areas. Time will tell, I guess.
 
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