In some New York districts, students get 50 points out of 100 on their report cards just for being enrolled. It’s supposed to be a motivator, giving poor students a chance to pass with a little effort. But some students use it to minimize their effort. From New York Teacher:
Thirty miles west of Syracuse, Auburn teachers are challenging a newly imposed district policy that gives students a minimum grade of 50 regardless of their attendance, test scores, class participation or lack thereof. Auburn, with some 5,200 students, joins the ranks of Syracuse and Niagara Falls — other districts that this year have implemented policies that guarantee students minimum grades.
. . . “We know the rationale behind the district advancing this policy, but it literally destroys the trust between the student and teacher of honest assessment,” said Sally Jo Widmer, president of the 670- member Auburn Teachers Association. Some educators worry the 50-point minimum granted to every student in grades 7-12 gives kids an excuse not to work.
And teachers in several districts with minimum grading policies say they’ve witnessed students “coasting” on the gift 50.
“At the end of the first marking period, we had dozens of students who received a grade of 50 who had never turned in any homework, never taken a test or been present for a class, and could not have been accurately assessed by the teacher,” Widmer said. And “we have students who have successfully completed the first three marking periods and they are, with pen and pencil, calculating how little work they can do and still receive a passing grade.”
Anti-union readers should note that the teachers’ union is protesting the policy, saying it violates the “contract provision giving teachers responsibility for setting grading standards.”
Via Education Gadfly.