Grades for sale: $20 for 20 test points

For $20, students at a North Carolina middle school can buy 20 test points — 10 extra points on two tests of the student’s choosing, reports Education Week.

Susie Shepherd, Rosewood Middle School principal, said a parent advisory council came up with the idea after last year’s chocolate sale flopped.

Shepherd rejected the suggestion that the school is selling grades. Extra points on two tests won’t make a difference in a student’s final grade, she said.

It’s wrong to think that “one particular grade could change the entire focus of nine weeks,” Shepherd said.

Then the kids are getting gypped.

Some schools let teachers give extra credit to students who bring in supplies, such as tissues or pencils.

Update: The Wayne County school district has canceled the cash-for-points fundraiser and told the school to return any donations.

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  1. “Extra points on two tests won’t make a difference in a student’s final grade”

    Unless the student is on a borderline, D/C, C/B, B/A. And who doesn’t think they are ALMOST getting an A or a B? Susie Shepherd is spouting spin.

  2. This may be the worst idea in education ever. Seriously, who is in charge there? If it is the principal’s idea, then she should be seriously reprimanded.

  3. Andrew Bell says:

    Bad, bad idea. Of course, the idea came from parents – local control of schools and all. Too bad the principal didn’t have the guts to stand up and say no.

  4. The worst idea ever? Man, that’s some pretty tough competition.

    I think this shows how utterly incompetent public education personnel are when it comes to market dynamics. For instance, is 20 points worth twenty dollars? Perhaps it’s worth quite a bit more but we’ll never know.

    The principal, in her painful unfamiliarity with the operation of the free market, simply set a price.

    A savvier marketer would’ve put the points up for bid on Ebay, with some reasonable reserve, and let the market determine the value of her offering.

    Oh, maybe she’s savvier then I thought.

  5. Richard Nieporent says:

    Don’t be too hard on their bribery skills Allen. After all this is their first lesson in bribery. Some day they will know exactly how much to bribe in order to get out of trouble or win a contract and they will owe it all to what they learned at middle school.

  6. I think this about sums up the emphasis some school districts are putting on a decent education. It’s obvious that money comes first.

    Hall Monitor

  7. Someone should lose a job.

  8. Don Bemont says:

    Obviously a terrible idea.

    But understand that this was a PR fiasco, not a serious aberration. Grades are so routinely pressured, manipulated, replaced, inflated, and otherwise altered that it just didn’t occur to anyone that this particular grade alteration would look so much worse than all the others.

    If you could sneak reporters into a hundred high schools late in the term, you could get gather so many stories of similar embarrassment value that there would not be enough space in the paper to print them all. It has been bad for a long time, but since school results have become publicly compared, it has become ridiculous.

  9. Heh. This reminds me of the time when the French club at my high school was selling cards as a fundraiser. My French teacher said that she’d give extra credit to anyone who bought a card. Without stopping to think, I immediately blurted out, “So we’re basically buying our grades?” My teacher was most displeased.


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