recently, our school board has changed the grading policy such that no student can receive lower than a 50 on his/her grade card or even on the mid-grading period report. No reason was given for this change, we where just informed about it via an email. One of my colleagues remarked that his niece did her student teaching in a district where the lowest grade a teacher was allowed to "give" a student was a 70. (I hate the expression "giving grades" btw.) Is this possible??? Or was there a possible misunderstanding between the uncle and niece or perhaps between the niece and the school where she did her student teaching? thanks for any clarification.

My district does not have this policy but when my hubby was a teacher I think the lowest report card grade you could give was a 50 or a 55. The reason behind the policy is that if the grade given is too low, say a 30, then it becomes impossible for the student to pass the class after 2 terms of such a low grade, so they have no reason to even try. With the 50% rule, it's still possible for the student to pass the class. Actually, now that I think about it, I think the district I teach in does have this policy for freshmen and sophomores, that all grades below 55% have to be bumped up to a 55%. There are 2 marking periods as they work on a block schedule with one set of classes Sept - Jan and another set Jan - Jun. So if you get a 55% and then an 85% or higher the second marking period you pass the class. Passing is 70% or higher. I can't imagine making the minimum grade a 70% though, that's ridiculous.

We do not have that in our district. 0-100 with lots of zeros given for undone homework or missing tests or quizzes. Some have test or quiz grades below a 50%. Actually passing is 65 and above. I think many have problems with the fact that such a small percentage of the measure is passing. Regarding the "giving grades", based on the various definitions of giving, it is accurate. It has been in the societies language for years because teachers, based on their professional education and experience, do judge the accuracy of the work done by the student. I might concede that for a test that is solely objective, a student earns a grade, but any test that has subjectivity (all teacher made tests do have some based on how it is worded or if the answer is open ended) a grade is given. The fact that a student can give the same answer to multiple teachers and end up with different grades for the work shows that the grades are given more than earned. I've seen this in action for projects and essays. What is acceptable to one teacher is a failure to another. Therefore, grades are given.

It is highly recommended that students not receive below a 60 for the first grading period of a semester. For the same reason mentioned above - students will just give up if there is no way they can pass mathematically. I get the reasoning but it doesn't quite work out that way. Sometimes students do kick it into gear and manage to get a 74 the second nine weeks. Then the over-inflated grade on the state final exam will be a 70-something. In my area, students that typically get 40s on tests will "earn" a passing grade on the EOC because the curve is that high. I've never seen a grade lower than a sixty on it, even though several students bubble in multiple answers per question so they can make neat designs on the scantron. So when a student gets a 60, 72 and a 73 he will end up with a 68. He would have earned a 40, 72 and 45. I can't do anything about the inflated 73. But with that 68 the powers that be will expect me to "give" him an extra 2 points so that he passes. But if instead he gets that 40 on the report card he would have a 60. No one would ask me to bump up a grade by ten points. So I don't do the 60 any more. Instead, I speak to the child about my expectations, write those expectations on the report card and tell parents to read all comments via email and my website. Students that truly kick it in gear and then show me mastery on my own post test, will be passed along. This way the ball is solely in my court. They must get a C on the second nine weeks and be considered proficient according to the state on their EOC.

It's virtually impossible for students to fail for the year here. We only give letter grades on report cards. The overall weight of an "F" is the same regardless of percent. So a student who got a 30% for MP1 and a student who got a 50% for MP 1 would have the same contribution to the final end of year grade. Basically a student just needs to earn a D at least 1 marking period or a D- for at least 2 marking periods to earn a passing grade of D- (which is 59.5% and higher btw) for the year. So a student could get 0% for 3 marking periods, and then get a 65% (D) for the last marking period, and still get a D- for the year. I've had to give students Fs as a marking period grade, but I've never had a student fail for the whole year...and very few of my colleagues have either!

For marking periods 1, 2, and 3 the lowest grade a student may receive on the report card is 65%. However, for the 4th marking period a student could receive a 0%. On a side note: I do not know how this is possible but I remember back in middle school a student showing me a grade that was literally a zero....

I guess I should have mentioned that I teach math so everything I grade is objective. otherwise I agree with your point and can understand how the term has become accepted.

My district policy is that students cannot receive a grade below a 50% on their report card - even if they earned a 0%. This was done to help students pass. A student must get a 60% to pass for the quarter and the year; thus, if a student gets a 50% one quarter, all they need is a 70% during the second quarter to pass a semester course.

We have a modified version of that policy. For the first 2 marking periods, you need special permission to give a grade lower than a 55-- passing is 65--on a report card. But at the end of the year, all bets are off; you get what you get. If I were to give a kid a 40 on his first trimester report and a 30 on his second, I could count on nothing but trouble from him for the remainder of the year. It would be mathematically impossible for him to pass-- he would need 120 on his third trimester. So there would be no reason to pay attention or even to come to class-- and certainly very little keeping him from being a huge disruption in my class. Pair him with another kid in the same circumstances, and my class is a zoo. But if I bump that 30 and 40 up to a 55, he's still failing. But there's the mathematical possiblity that he can still somehow pass if he works. In fact, he "only" needs an 85. (Of course, with real grades of 30 and 40, that 85 is quite a stretch. And I make very sure that he and his parents know that the first two grades weren't accurate, and that he'll have to more than double the knowledge he has from his first 2 marking periods.) But in theory, passing is still a possibility, so it helps keep the behavior under control. As long as the end of the year represents reality, I'm OK with the policy.