In New Orleans, “Recovery District” public schools have created a new math to justify passing students: 2 F’s (0) + 2 D’s (2 x .5) divided by four quarters = 1 D (1.0), a passing grade. The Times-Picayune reports:
Under a new and exceptionally lenient grading policy, high school students in New Orleans’ Recovery School District can pass their classes even if their quarterly grades average an “F” for the year.
For example, a student can earn F’s in three quarters and a C in one quarter and still pass for the full year. Another way to pass: two D’s and two F’s, under a policy that educators locally and nationally said falls far below typical standards.
Mathematically, it would be nearly impossible to design an easier standard: The only way to fail a course is by getting F’s for all four quarters. That’s because the policy calls for rounding up grade-point averages of .5 or higher. If, for example, a student makes two D’s and two F’s, the .5 grade-point average is automatically raised to a 1.0, or D “average.”
Some students started school after the start of the year. They’re under a lot of strain because of the slow recovery from Katrina. Still, if a normal pass policy resumes next year as promised, how will these F+ students move on to the next level? They don’t know the math.
Update: For a happier story, here’s the Times-Picayune on a science and math charter school with open admissions and “no-frill academics” that’s outperforming many of the selective-admissions schools.