F = OK

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.

Via Edspresso.

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.

About Joanne


  1. The author of the article is either illiterate or innumerate, most likely the latter. Rounding up a .5 to a 1 still won’t save someone with 3 Fs and 1 D, which comes to a .25 average. So “getting F’s for all four quarters” is not “the only way to fail a course”, unless the author has garbled the explanation.

  2. Independent George says:

    From TFA:

    And even students who fail to meet that reduced standard can still earn credit for one semester: Three F’s and one D — mathematically a .25 average — earn students a “half credit,” meaning they only have to repeat half the course.

  3. Are we supposed to believe that these children are being done a favor?

    What intervention is being done for these children who’ve endured the hurricane and “recovery”?

    School should be the place of stability and hope for these kids.

    Not another endorcement of inferiority.

  4. Catch Thirty Thr33 says:

    …and people wonder why New Orleans, in spite of being one of the busiest ports in America and one of its cultural centers, is also one of its most impoverished cities, if not THE most impoverished.

  5. ‘soical promotion’?

  6. Let’s see, is this the same city where the certified teachers are being sent to the charter schools and anyone else who has a hankering for teaching is sent to the public schools?

    Teach NOLA

    teachNOLA seeks the nation’s most outstanding recent, mid- and post-career professionals to make a difference by teaching in a New Orleans public school

    Be sure to check out the “I am a certified teacher” and “I want to become a certified teacher” links.

  7. Prior to Katrina the worst 50 public schools in Louisiana (ranked 49 or 50th) were in Orleans parish. It is a joke and has been for years, they had as many as 15,000 people that received employee benefits, paychecks, insurance, etc that were no longer employed by the system. One of their valedictorians failed the high school exit exam 5 times.

    My son is working for a contractor in NOLA rebuilding and re-equipping the schools and he says it is still a joke. There is very little discipline and the schools are more like daycare centers than learning institutions. Hopefully things will get better but with the gimme attitude of many New Orleanians don’t expect to see anything happen real soon.


  1. […] Would that lawmakers in Colorado recognize that before public schools start down this path (via Joanne Jacobs): …a student can earn F’s in three quarters and a C in one quarter and still pass for the […]