Students who’ve glided through high school with inflated grades are ending up in remedial English and math in college, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The state gives a Hope Scholarship to B students — but a high school B average doesn’t guarantee passing grades in college.
Students such as Brandon Curry, 20, a graduate of Redan High in DeKalb County, said they were surprised to learn decent high school grades don’t always translate into college success.
“English was my strongest subject,” he said after a remedial reading class earlier this spring at Georgia Perimeter College in Clarkston. “But when I came to college, I was like, ‘Whoa.’
“I’m on this level,” he said, motioning to about knee-level. “And I’m supposed to be up here,” he said, raising his hand above his chest.
In some cases, students wrestle with basic reading comprehension, said Karen Duncan, an assistant reading professor at Perimeter.
“It’s abysmal,” she said. “We’ve got students in there who may be on the fifth- or sixth-grade level.”
At some high schools, there are huge gaps between students’ class grades and their performance on state-written end-of-course exams. At one high school only 2 percent of students failed economics but 57 percent failed the state’s econ exam; at another, 0.4 percent of students failed economics, but 63 percent failed the state economics test.
Teachers say they’re pushed by principals to pass students along, so they won’t lose heart and drop out, hurting the school’s rating.
They said that some schools bar teachers from giving “zeroes” — or even failing grades — for work never submitted, let students retake classes without penalty, and punish teachers who fail too many students.
Tracking drop-outs accurately is only the first step, writes Eduwonk guest blogger Michael Goldstein. Track the college success rate of graduates so there’s no reward for dumbing down diplomas.