A, B, C, F

Nobody earns a D in Mount Olive Township, New Jersey schools. Students who score under 70 fail the class.

Superintendent Larrie Reynolds told the Daily Record that the number of failing grades for middle and high school students dropped 42.5 percent in the first quarter. And more students earned A’s and B’s.

Reynolds had proposed the policy last summer, saying he was tired of kids getting credit for not learning.

Under the new policy, students can retake exams and redo assignments to bring an F to a C. I don’t have a problem with that, if the student genuinely improves.

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Comments

  1. Michael E. Lopez says:

    This is a sensible policy.

    The next step is to get rid of the C’s.

    Then the B’s.

    Then the stupid little plusses and minuses.

    Then we’ll have a decent grading system for our students: A or F.

    Do or do not. There is no try.

  2. Pass/fail would make our lives easier, I think.

    At this point, I’m just grateful the uni I teach at doesn’t do pluses and minuses; I can’t cope with that level of hairsplitting.

  3. CarolineSF says:

    This is the way the Envision Schools, a San Francisco-based charter chain, operate — the policy is no D grades, only A, B, C or fail the class. The question, obviously, is whether this encourages grade inflation — especially when Envision Schools boasts of its graduation rate and is highly touted for it.

  4. I was a college student in the early days of the pass-fail grade option and I’m against it. At my school, it was first tried with a very small group of top students (25 out of grad classes of 1500), professors were not aware of student selection of that option and they reported grades as usual. This student group was extremely atypical and most earned As, even though they were recorded simply as passes on transcripts. Almost all anticipated grad/medical/law school and their GPAs were artifically lowered by pass grades, so it ended up a negative for them. Most never took more than a few courses, usually electives, that way because they wanted the As.

    When the option was opened to the general student population (some departments/schools didn’t allow), most students did the mins. That was in the late 60s, when colleges demanded far more effort (and no xerox machines, no recording lectures and no lecture notes given); I think it would be far worse today.

  5. I always liked the idea of just reporting a straight percentage. Why letter grades? If a student has earned 89% of what they are expected to know/demonstrate versus 80%, they are both “B’s” and a B will be on the report card and look identical. However, there is obviously a vast difference between almost an “A” and almost a “C.” So, why not just publish the percentage earned and avoid all the other non-sense?

  6. I love straight percentages! They are fair to all.

    The last I heard, there is actually a college where all grades are straight percentages, both on daily work and on semester/final grades. I heard about kids getting grades in the 20s, early on arrival. Of course, it’s an engineering school; Webb Institute. All students – 25 per year- dual major in naval architecture (hull design) and marine engineering (power systems). All students get full tuition scholarships, are off-campus for work-study every Jan-Feb and the last I heard the school has had a 100% job placement by graduation for almost 100 years. It’s right on the Sound in Glen Cove, NY and has its own beach, sailing club and team (plus some others) . Very very smart kids.

  7. Straight percentages would be a good idea as well.

    It might put an end to the CONSTANT stream of “I really NEED a B in this class” plaints I hear this time of year (ALWAYS from students currently earning a D or a low C). There is nothing magical about a letter grade; professors are not wizards who conjure them out of thin air: they are merely the reflection of a percentage.

    I don’t curve, so really, reporting a percentage is no different from reporting a letter. But students seem to wish it was so.

    I often want to say in response to the “I really NEED a B” people “Well, I really NEED a Porsche, but I’m not getting that either.” But that’s too mean.

  8. Straight percentages are no more objective than letter grades when you move beyond multiple choice.

  9. Fred the Fourth says:

    Back in ’80 I took serious advanced (university) classes way outside my EECS major by taking advantage of P/F. Without that I doubt I’d have put my GPA at such a risk. Middle / high schools don’t have such a focused major-type track, so I doubt the utility of P/F in those years.