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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Is a 50 good??

Raise your hand if you've ever heard THAT question asked by one of your students before.

The kind way to answer this is, of course, "Not only is 50 NOT good, it's so bad that when you make a 50, it's going to rain because angels are crying."

Recent discussion here in Texas has centered around those grades of 50. Currently, 50 is the lowest allowable grade on a child's report card. If little Jimmy did absolutely no work whatsoever during a grading period, he still gets a 50 on his report card. Now educators are crying, "Jimmy earned a zero, let's give him a frakkin' zero!"

Thankfully, in third grade, I haven't had many kids who do absolutely nothing in class. Even the lazy ones do at least take their tests and do some of the class work. I've also been told that if a child is going to fail, I should give him/her a 68 or a 69 rather than a grade in the 50s. That way, if the child gets his act together, he could scrape together an overall passing grade for the semester.

It will be interesting to see in the next few months how this debate turns out. Kids will have to actually EARN a 50 if the protesters win their case.

I wonder what would happen if I did absolutely no duties of my job whatsoever. Would I still be given 50% of my salary?


Mrs. T said...

Our district is exploring this phenomenon (or is it phenomena?) right now. Teachers are crying "Grade Inflation!!" and are being told, "Oh no it isn't". It seems pretty inflated to me if a kid who does absolutely nothing gets the same grade as someone who does half.

Joel said...

Just to throw some wood on the fire, consider that Grade Point Averages don't work on the same scale.

100 = 4
99 = 3
89 = 2
79 = 1
69 = 0
0 = -6

What would one 0 do to your overall GPA? Well, it would erase an A and a B.

Also, I know we are trying to teach responsibility, but how fair is it to punish irresponsibility vastly more than we punish ignorance?

Jules said...

ooh, what a zinger there at the end! because truly, think about all the teachers who do almost nothing and earn a big salary?

sad to say I've had students who earned a SINGLE DIGIT GRADE because they have literally done nothing all year, but yep, the lowest we can give is a 55. and they get passed along anyway.


IMC Guy said...

Keep us posted on the discussion. We also had discussions at our school about homework and whether or not it should be graded. If the kids can do well on the tests, do they really need to do homework? Should homework not completed lower their grade even if they can demonstrate the knowledge?

askthehomediva said...

In the gazillion years that I have been teaching high school, I don't know that I've ever run across a kid who received a 50, and then spurred by the hope of passing the semester, pushed it in gear and passed. It's usually 0,0,0. Oh wait, make that 50, 50, 50. I'm sure there are a few kids out there, but I have yet to see one in my class or any other teacher's classroom.

EHT said...

Our minimum grade is a 55 and at the fourth grade level the child must have many, many absences before the system will allow them to be retained. The thinking is that during the fifth grade year they must pass the math/LA portions of our state test in order to go to middle school. Many get caught in this manner, but have two wasted years and are still behind in skills.

I provide two grades on the report card and papers that are sent home. The required 55 and the gradebook average as well so parents truly know where their child stands. I don't ask permission to this and I don't think a parent has ever complained, so the district has no knowlege, but I get get many parents to help me once they know the true situation.

Paul C said...

Okay, maybe I'm missing something, but how is earning a 50 (or a 55) "getting passed along". We aren't giving these students a passing grade. We're simply keeping the hole from getting too deep. They still have to perform to pass.

loonyhiker said...

This was kicked around my school for the past 5 years. At the last debate it was agreed upon that a student who was failing the first quarter would be no less than a 65 and their would be a parent conference where a grading contract would be signed. The student would agree to do so much work in order to bring the grade up the next quarter (I never understood this because isn't that a given?) If the student didn't fulfill the contract, the first quarter grade is changed to the original grade.