Should I pass a student?

Discussion in 'High School' started by Mango&Mattie, May 22, 2009.

  1. Mango&Mattie

    Mango&Mattie New Member

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    May 22, 2009

    I have a student who needed one point to make D- for this year. She hadn't done her work throughout the semester, and she didn't take her work seriously. One of her parents asked if I could give the point. I refused because that would mean bumping up other students who didn't make it. It was also not a unique failing incident. This student just doesn't want to do her work.

    I am quite uncomfortable with such request and wonder if others get the same requests. I'd also like to know if I did the right thing. Should I have just given up that one point? What is your input? This is my first year, and I'm experiencing so many parents' requests that I pass their children. Honestly, I wasn't quite aware I'd have to deal with this!
     
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  3. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    May 22, 2009

    I've never been asked to just give the extra point, but I'm with you on this one. I wouldn't change it based on the info you gave. Now, if I have a student who's struggling but making an effort I'm glad to give an extra credit assignment to hep get the grade up. But if they have been lazy all term, why on earth should I just give them an extra point for no reason?
     
  4. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    May 22, 2009

    You did the right thing. Grades are earned not given.
     
  5. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    May 22, 2009

    Uh, one point? On a grading scale of 0 to 5, or on 0 to 100?
     
  6. Mango&Mattie

    Mango&Mattie New Member

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    May 22, 2009

    It's one percentage point. I can see how it may seem trivial, but even one percentage point should be earned fairly.
     
  7. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    May 22, 2009

    I take it you're not worried about it having any effect on tenure? If it's your first year, are you really so confident in your grading and rubric that you're willing to have a significant effect on a student's life over the one percentage point?

    You say you're concerned because it would mean bumping up other students who didn't make it. Does this mean that more than one failed by one percentage point?

    Given that a number of teachers complain about principals asking them to revise grades, you might check what your principal thinks about it before the parent does.
     
  8. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    May 22, 2009

    I agree with what you did but realistically I'm gonna go with 3Sons. Check with your P.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 22, 2009

    First, check your math. Be certain that the kid hasn't really already earned the point. Mistakes do happen, and you would hate to take a stand and then find an error.

    I have never failed a student by one point. To fail my class, you need to be lower than 1.5 points below failing-- so it's clear cut. Get a 63.5 in my class, and I'll grudgingly pass you (though the "grudgingly" part doesn't show on the report card.)
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    May 22, 2009

    A pity it doesn't, in cases of clear screwing-off... but then Einstein was a fairly notorious screwoff in school. By this I do not mean to imply that Mango&Mattie would be wrong to take a hard line here, but only that the squirming and second-guessing is understandable.
     
  11. ANGRY AL

    ANGRY AL Companion

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    May 22, 2009

    3Sons is absolutely correct!! Having "standards" is all nice and fine, but being able to pay the mortgage is MUCH better. I've seen too many teachers on some "educational mission" failing enough kids to the point that they get called in by administration for that "How can we make YOU a better teacher?" conference.
     
  12. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    May 22, 2009

    In Saskatchewan in High School credit classes you can appeal any mark between 45 and 49% (a 50 is needed to pass), and Sask Learning will pass you. So most schools just bump up kids who get between 45 and 49%.
     
  13. justfluttering

    justfluttering Rookie

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    May 22, 2009

    I had a girl in class today, she was all upset. She had so many absences that she wasn't going to get credit for the semester. Her mom was able to produce doctor's notes for all but one absence. Her one unexcused absence was in my class. I marked her absent on January 8th! There is no way I can remember that far back and I my attendance records for that month are gone. I called the attendance lady, we agreed to just excuse the absence. There was no way to be really sure what happened so many months ago.
    Today, senior grades went in. One young man received a 36 out of 120 on his final. His grade after everything was a 49%. I wanted to pass him but his grade was just too low. It would have been merciful for me to pass him, he has at least another year if not two of high school ahead of him. He may never pass. I don't have any answers...
     
  14. justfluttering

    justfluttering Rookie

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    May 22, 2009

    At my school, students must have a 60% to pass. I really feel like I failed him. I should have done better by my student. I don't know if I can fix anything now, but Tuesday I will check to see what I can do.
     
  15. Catcherman22

    Catcherman22 Companion

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    May 25, 2009

    hmmmmm the 1 points are always questionable for me. 59.1 and up I would pass them.. 58.9 and below I wouldn't.. if its 59.0 I look at the students work ethic, if they didn't put an effort forth they don't get the point.
     
  16. JDcompy

    JDcompy Rookie

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    May 25, 2009

    The F word

    I read an article not long ago.. I can't remember the name.. something about 'the F word'. The article was written by a teacher who talks about failing students as a way to help them. I think the point is that if we continue to push people through the system we are doing them a disservice. Sometimes it is better to fail them and give them the wake up call early on than wait until they are older, in the real world, where these mistakes can cost more than just the repetition of one class.
     
  17. ANGRY AL

    ANGRY AL Companion

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    May 25, 2009

    JDCompy - That all depends upon 2 things.....First, your administration and whether they are willing to support that philosophy (many don't) and second, you have to ask yourself if 20 more weeks (block schedule-semester length) of English (in my case) is going to make any difference for that kid.
     
  18. tough

    tough New Member

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    May 28, 2009

    When you say 1 point, do you mean one percentage point or one point for all the work / tests etc?
     
  19. sk8enscars311

    sk8enscars311 Companion

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    May 28, 2009

    I think if you keep a good record of all the student's grades and if you feel the student is still getting a higher grade than deserved, I'd give the F. There have been times when I want to give a student what he/she really deserves, but I don't because that particular quarter may have been hectic and I'm missing a grade here or there. Just know that the parent will probably contest it and you will need to supply documentation. You may also need to supply some kind of evidence that you attempted to contact the parents to inform them of the possibility of failing.

    I agree with you in that the student should get what she deserves. But I also think you don't want to put yourself in a regrettable situation.
     
  20. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    May 28, 2009

    If you have a fudge factor in the grading but don't think the student deserves to pass, I think it would be better to fudge it down or just give what was honestly deserved rather than fudge it up to one point below passing.
     
  21. LynnB

    LynnB Rookie

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    I had a senior who almost failed because she did not take her assignments seriously. She had to take a correspondence course in another class that she failed last semester in order to make up that credit. Also, she was failing in another class, and that teacher and I got together and decided if she made a serious effort to get caught up, we would pass her (she only lacked two points in each of our classes). This girl has no intentions of going on to college and we didn't think she would come back to finish next year, so we had to make a what's-best-for-the-student decision. The principal was on board with us.

    When I was a new teacher, I NEVER played with student's grades, but now I think it is sometimes necessary. I feel my grading is sometimes subjective (on essays for example), so I don't feel bad making changes to grades based on a student's situation.
     
  22. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    May 29, 2009

    This is why my school has a 4 point policy. If students fall between 47-49, we need to make a decision...whether to give them a 46 (fail) or a 50 (pass). That way, students/parents can't come back and say "but they just need ONE point". It takes a lot of pressure of of us, that's for sure.

    In your situation, I think you did the right thing. I failed a kid on a test by one point a few months ago. He was upset and complaining loudly in class...I told him that points don't appear out of thin air. I counted up the questions he got correct, and he only gave me 49% of them right.
     
  23. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Did I read that right? A kid needs a 50% to pass? So he can know only half the work and still receive a passing grade?
     
  24. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    May 29, 2009

    You did not fail this student. She failed, herself. Teachers tend to take all the onus upon themselves, when we really can't do much unless we have something to work with.

    Let this girl take the consequences of her own inactions. To allow her to pass, when she didn't earn that right, would be an injustice to all the students who passed honestly.
     
  25. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    May 31, 2009

    You sure did. I'm pretty frustrated with my school and the school system right now, so I'll leave it at that :)
     
  26. CindyBlue

    CindyBlue Cohort

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    Jun 1, 2009

    Here's the one I read awhile ago...it's from a book called "Recess, Prayer Meditations for Teaching", author's last name Murphy (sorry, that's all that's written on the copy I have!)
    Him: I flunked.
    Me [the Teacher]: No, you didn't "flunk." We talked about it before, remember? Your parents and I agreed that you need to repeat this grade.
    Him: I flunked.
    Me: Don't think of it like that. Think of it as getting a second chance. And if you work hard next time around, you'll catch up on all the stuff you didn't learn this year.Then you'll be ready to move on!
    Him: I flunked.
    Me: No, no no. please stop saying that.
    But you know what, Father?
    This kid flunked.
    He's not being held back because he's developmentally unready, or because he was ill and missed a lot of school.
    He's being held back because he didn't do a lick of work all year.
    He flunked.
    And he needed to say that.
    And I wouldn't let him.
    In an effort to make him feel good about himself, I denied him the right to feel bad about himself.
    Oh, Father, it's a hard truth - no adult can make a kid learn anything.
    But when he said he flunked, I told myself
    I flunked.
    So I wanted to rush him through the valley of the shadow of failure, and out into the bright sunlight of a new beginning
    Before he was ready.
    I'm sorry.
    He flunked.
    He well and truly flunked.
    And he has the courage to see it and name it.
    And with courage like that, maybe he'll turn his life around.
    Wouldn't that be something?
    Oh, wouldn't that be something?
     
  27. Loretin

    Loretin Rookie

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    Jun 8, 2009

    You are not failing the student, the student is failing himself/herself. I don't know what subject you teach, but I teach Math. Since Math builds up, it is better for students to fail and retake the class so they can be ready for the next level, than to give them that extra point that will only set them up for failure next year. You are the only one that knows if the student is ready to move forward. (This is coming from a teacher that works at a district that requires a 70 or above to pass)
     
  28. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Jun 8, 2009

    I think I am a pretty hard grader and I have pretty high expectations for my students, so in a situation like that, I would give the kid the benefit of the doubt and assume that somewhere along the line I graded too hard. I might even go back to the portfolio and see if I can't give the kid a couple more points on an essay they have in there. But usually I would just override it for the one point. I have been asked to override the grade by a guidance counselor before but not by a parent.


    If I thought I was an easy grader, I would do the opposite.

    My students have to have a 70 to pass. The range of passing and failing is really interesting...
     
  29. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 8, 2009

    I think the question is less whether or not to pass a student, but whether or not to fail him by one point.

    If you honestly go back over all his work, find that you've graded fairly and he's failing by one point, I would suggest passing him. If, on the other hand, you've added every point you can find and he's still failing by one point, go back and remove all those added chances and fail him by a larger margin.
     

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