Is a 50 good?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Mister Teacher, Jan 19, 2008.

  1. Mister Teacher

    Mister Teacher Companion

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    Jan 19, 2008

    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?

    <edited: please review signature guidelines>
     
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  3. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Jan 19, 2008

    That is just dumb. They should get what they earn.
     
  4. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    One of the very good reasons why the unequal scale of from 1 to 100 being an A is ridiculous. We're moving to a 1, 2, 3 scale next year. K-3 has the scale in place now. Fourth and Fifth are using it on projects, etc. but still have to post a percentage. We'll gradually move towards the following:

    Key to Academic Achievement

    1……Limited or minimum progress toward
    achievement of the standard.

    2……Progressing toward achievement of the
    standard.

    3……Consistently and independently achieves
    the standard.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 19, 2008

    I'm participating in an action research project for my district regarding this very issue.

    Before doing all the research, I thought that a student should earn a zero for putting forth zero effort. Now I'm sort of seeing that perhaps our whole 100-point percentage grading system is flawed, because there's too big a hurdle for students to overcome when they earn one or more zeros.

    Our research project, which we're conducting even as we speak, involves changing the grading scale to a 5-point system. This system is more of a rubric approach, and it's very common in foreign language classes, so I'm quite familiar with it already. Basically, it gives students 4 points when their work exceeds expectations/standards, 3 points for meeting standards, 2 points for approaching standards, 1 point for not approaching standards, and 0 points for no work submitted.

    It's still basically the same exact system when you consider that 4 points equals about 90-100% (A), 3 points equals about 80-89% (B), 2 points equals about 70-79% (C), 1 point equals 60-69% (D), and 0 points equals 0-50% (F).

    The difference is that it eliminates the huge, huge portion of the grading scale currently devoted to a failing grade.

    Does a student who earns a 56% on an assignment really know or demonstrate as little as a student who earns 0%? Probably not. The 5-point system takes that sort of thing into account, and allows the student who at least approaches the standards to still earn credit.

    This system is particularly useful for ELL students and special ed students who may not yet be up to grade level but who are still improving. Under our current guidelines, we're pretty much obligated to issue failing grades for students who fail to meet the standards. There's no way to indicate that a student is improving or approaching the standard, which leads students to become disenfranchised and apathetic towards school and learning.

    And if you do no work, you still get a zero. It's just a little easier to overcome if you realize later in the game that you need to do the work to learn the material and pass the class.
     
  6. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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    My problem is with the kid that EARNED his 70 and showed up to class every day, and the kid who came to class HARDLY EVER but is GIVEN a 50. That's crap. If they want to come back from a 50, let them make it up with the after school program or summer school, but otherwise they are out of luck. And in my class, if you didn't even earn a 50, the way the grades build on each other, you will fail every other assignment too.
     
  7. Noggin

    Noggin Rookie

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    Jan 19, 2008

    I was surprised when I found out I couldn't give less than a 50. I do see both sides of the issue, but the ones they are hoping will get their act together and try to make a comeback haven't been exactly beating down my door to make up work. So I give them the 50 and they continue to give nothing. Not exactly what they had in mind when they decided on this little policy, I'm sure. :p

    The rubric style grading sounds really promising. Will be interested to hear what happens with that.
     
  8. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Ha ha. My school doesn't give kids grades at all (narrative reports go to parents only) so it's very rare a kid sees a grade of any kind.

    Recently, when I began giving math tests, I turned them back in with the fraction and percentage grade, so they could see how that looks. My student who had a fifty was so proud. "I got half right!"
     
  9. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    Jan 19, 2008

    All elementary school students in my district are "passed" to the next grade. A kid can make a 50 or a 90 and they are still bumped up the the next grade.:confused::confused: I remember back in the dark ages kids were actually held back a year if they didn't have passing grades......

    Major.....:)
     
  10. MsMongoose

    MsMongoose Companion

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    I think I like the 5 point system, at least for elementary students. What if a kid just totally misunderstands one thing, and gets a "0" on that test ? But gets 85-90 on all the other tests? In elementary school, grades are supposed to support learning, aren't they? Making a kid feel that they are a complete failure at X subject (as opposed to telling them they need to get better at it) doesn't seem very useful But of course this only helps when the kids are trying. I'm not sure it would be good in the higher grades though.
     
  11. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    I agree with La Profesora, and I also remember Major Hunt's "hold them back when they don't know the stuff" era.

    I still think promotion should be an earned thing, but as you all know, I believe almost everything should be earned.

    To add to La Profesora's post, I also think that a student who chooses to earn a 50% or less DESERVES to fail. Some students work their tails off to get half the work right, and a kid who chooses to do nothing at all deserves the nothing at all he so rightfully earned.

    To pass these kids along does them AND the kids who really tried, a real disservice.

    It's not fair, wahhhh, it's not fair!
     
  12. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    Jan 20, 2008

    Have to agree!!!!!!!!!!!

    Major..:)
     
  13. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    We're not doing any good by passing students on that don't deserve, but because we don't want to see them "fail", we pass them on. They are going to get a huge shock when it comes to college/workforce. Country's going on a downhill slide if we turn it over to these students.
     
  14. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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    yes, they will get the big shock in college that, if they don't do the work, they will fail, and they will take the class again. no ifs, ands, or buts. And if mommy and daddy are paying, they will not be really happy about that.

    so, why do we enable these kiddos now? teach them that if they don't do the work, they come in for after school program, or Saturday classes, or summer school. No excuses. They won't like THEIR time being infringed on. or they fail and take it next year.

    The whole point ISN'T getting them to PASS. Its getting them to LEARN THE MATERIAL. If they are farting around, they aren't learnin' nothin'.
     
  15. bluelightstar

    bluelightstar Companion

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    Jan 20, 2008

    Fortunately, at my school, kids get what they earn. In my first year, we were required to give students who did absolutely nothing at least a 60. I refused to do something that ludicrous, so I left and went to high school.

    Now, students get what they deserve and I think they're better for it. The students at my last school essentially had free run of the place and when they realized that they were going to pass regardless, we had some serious problems.
     
  16. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    It's probably my age, but I agree wholeheartedly that students should earn their grades and their grades should reflect their efforts. I completed student teaching in a 3rd grade classroom in December, and we DID have two students who capriciously decided on some days that they would not work. Throw pieces of eraser across the room, yes; make rude and inappropriate comments, sure; distract their classmates, absolutely; but work - no way! One of them would even go to the extreme of informing the principal that he was not going to do his work! Should this student receive the same grade as another one of my 3rd graders, who had accommodations that made much of his work "easier", yet he still studied and gave his best efforts on every assignment? Sure, sometimes student #2's grades were not great, but he at least made an effort! I think smart-aleck, rude, uncaring students should receive the grade they have earned. Just my :2cents: -- probably not even worth that since I have not had my own class yet.
     
  17. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    What is wrong with getting what you earned? How often do the kids who get below a 50% do their work and come back anyway. I have a student that is getting an F. I told him I would give him a chance to turn in his missing work and that would bring his grade up to a B. Do you know I didn't get a lick of work from this kid. And he's not the only one, who I gave a chance to turn in work and didn't turn in anything, he's just the one that sticks out in my mind because his grade would have gone up the most. You can lead a horse to water....
     
  18. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    The other extreme-I taught at a school where if you didn't get at least a 70% you got an F. There were no D's. Why? Because if you get a D in college you will have to retake that class in order to pass. I didn't agree with giving my 3rd graders F's because they got below a 70%.
     
  19. MsMongoose

    MsMongoose Companion

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    Should grades reflect their efforts or their work ? And should this differ in elementary school from the way it is in high school? At what point does "accomadation" change what the work actually reflects?
     
  20. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I thought we issued grades based on a student's demonstrated mastery of a subject or standard. Effort doesn't have a role in the demonstration of mastery of a particular subject, although it plays a vital role in establishing that mastery.

    I believe that all marks pertaining to effort, attitude, behavior, citizenship, etc. should be calculated separately from the main, course grade. If we present final grades which are really a mash-up of mastery, effort, and attitude, our grades are impure and, therefore, invalid.

    Likewise, grades adjusted on account of late work, absenteeism, extra credit, and, dare I say it, plagiarism should be left out of the final grade. None of those things demonstrates mastery, and all work to obscure or mimick it.
     
  21. MsMongoose

    MsMongoose Companion

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    Jan 21, 2008

    Years ago, a friend of mine had classes in England, (in what would be high school here) in which the final grade was based completely on the score on the mid-term and final--so he only showed up on the two test days. The teacher had to recheck the list of students to be sure he was in the class. But he still got his "A".

    At least on the high school level, this seems reasonable to me--grades are for what you know, not for effort or process. But if we're going to say that grades are for mastery of the subject, we can't complain as to how the student got there, can we?

    I really have some mixed feelings on this subject, and I think grade 3 is not the same as grade 11. But I do think that educators--not just teachers, but principals and others--need to be clear on this.

    sorry about earlier post--accommodation, not accomadation
     

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