Ramblings of Silver Blue

29 Jun


Sorry guys, but had to post about this. When I was growing up, if you didn’t do your homework, and the teacher said “no late assignments will be accepted, except for excused absenses”, that meant just that. Since these days a zero doesn’t mean a zero, I think we should all go back and DEMAND our grades be recalculated. After all, a few of them prevented MY getting on the honor roll. Of course, we know that won’t happen.

Since when does not doing work mean that you should get even partial credit, even to the point of half credit (or more than half credit????)

Yet people wonder why the generation of today is so ignorant. Look no further than your public school. (The same organization that has decided to quit grading in “red ink” because it causes low self esteem in students.)

Some teachers practicing zero intolerance
By MIKE GRUSS, The Virginian-Pilot
© June 29, 2005
Last updated: 11:35 PM

VIRGINIA BEACH — As newly minted report cards hang on refrigerator doors, more students in Norfolk and Virginia Beach are celebrating victory over the law of averages.

That’s because the chance of earning a zero in some classrooms has become nil, nada, zip, zilch, none.

Some teachers, aware of the devastating effects that one zero can have on a student’s final grade and recognizing the string of perfect scores necessary to negate it, have simply stopped logging zeros. Instead, at some schools, the lowest score students can receive is as high as 50 or 60 – even if they don’t turn in assignments.

The practice challenges a long-held philosophy that if you don’t do the work, you don’t get the grade.

In an article for the education journal Phi Delta Kappan , Douglas Reeves wrote that a zero for work that is not turned in is punished much more severely than work “that is done wretchedly and is worth a D.” Reeves is chairman and founder of the Center for Performance Assessment and has worked with teachers in Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

Not everyone agrees.

“We think it’s a pretty clear case of grade inflation,” said Justin Torres , research director for the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation , an education reform group based in Washington . “Kids will take advantage of the system.”

School officials in Norfolk and Virginia Beach say they don’t mandate how teachers grade. But they want to ensure that teachers understand how heavily a zero can weigh on a student’s final grade. Zeros can mean fewer students are eligible for the honor roll or extra curricular activities.

In Chesapeake, teachers can score a zero for any student work that is not made up. School leaders in Portsmouth did not have grading information available; Suffolk school officials did not return messages from The Virginian-Pilot.

Virginia Beach and Norfolk school officials plan to study the issue in the fall. In the meantime, Beach administrators have encouraged teachers to accept late assignments, particularly daily homework, for partial credit.

Teachers at Kempsville Middle School in Virginia Beach voted this year not to hand out zeroes. But teachers are allowed to determine the lowest score possible for belated or incomplete work.

At Kempsville Meadows Elementary School in Virginia Beach, Principal Douglas Daughtry said one teacher there has pledged not to go below 60.

“It does not seem equitable to have an 8- to 10-point spread for every other grade but an E,” Daughtry said.

Daughtry and other Beach principals have met with teachers to discuss how harshly a zero can effect final grades.

Virginia Beach School Board member Emma L. Davis offered this example:

Consider trying to find the average temperature over five days and recording 85, 82, 83 and 86, then forgetting a day and recording 0. The average temperature would be 67 , a figure that does not accurately show the weather from that week.

If those temperatures were grades, a student would fail after consistently earning B’s and C’s.

“If you get a zero, how many 100’s does it take to earn a passing grade?” asked Thomas Lockamy , Norfolk’s chief academic officer.

Some teachers simply avoid the goose-egg by adopting a gradebook of only letter grades instead of numbers or points.

For example, if a student scores a 100 and a zero, their average grade is 50, a failing grade. If however, a teacher keeps only letter grades, the student would have an A (the 100) and an E (the zero), which averages out to a C.

Other principals use different tactics. Some review gradebooks to ensure that teachers are offering students enough grades during a quarter or semester and that one or two zeros will not submarine a semester’s effort.

“One grade should not cause you to fail the entire nine weeks,” said Maynard E. Massey , Virginia Beach’s assistant superintendent for middle schools.

Reach Mike Gruss at (757) 222-5133 or mike.gruss@pilotonline.com.

One Response to “Senseless”

  1. 1
    Celtic Momma Says:

    As some of you know that read Tink’s blog, I’m living in Ga just outside of ATlanta.

    We just had a teacher fired in the spring because he gave a student a failing grade on an assignment. He did this because the student fell asleep in his class. This has been the teacher’s standing rule has been for years. It’s in his syllabus, all the kids and parents agree to it.

    But the kid was a football player. You know what that means. This went as far as a public meeting with the school board.

    Gym Rat got invited to a travel team for a special kind of gymnastics testing. Gym mom told me that only a few kids got invited, usually. But some mom complained that her kid didn’t get to go so now they all go.

    Since Piperboy was 9 or 10 this is the way of things. Get a trophy just for being on the team. Work your heart out beat everyone else but don’t get anything special. All players and teams get the same awards.

    No wonder we have people in jobs that think they ought to get paid for just sitting there. We won a little on a lottery tkt, took it to the gas station that sold it to us, she wouldn’t pay out. We got the feeling it was just too much bother for her. Well they’ll lose out on the $100 or so my aunt spends each month. No big deal you say. Well how about if a lot of us quit going there because of this woman’s attitude. Then it would be a big deal.

    i just don’t understand these parents not wanting to teach their kids that life sometimes isn’t fair and that you have to work for what you get. guess maybe I’m getting to old.

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