Thursday, March 5, 2009

More on grading scales

Another article from the PG, stating that per some experts there is little difference among grading scales, although these experts do not seem to be addressing situations where a set GPA must be reached to qualify for ex for a Pgh Promise scholarship or entry into a magnet program. The article also does not address the fact that the 0-5 scale works essentially the same way as the 50% minimum to bump up grades when assignments are skipped.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09064/953322-85.stm

16 comments:

solutionsRus said...

I am deeply disappointed that the PG article discusses the "debate" around minimum grading policies without mentioning the side of the argument from many teachers and parents that any "minimum grading policy", no matter what the form, artificially inflates grades and encourages mediocrity!

The argument that a failing grade for 0-59% gives too much weight is so flawed as to be ridiculous. There is a MINIMUM amount of knowledge that needs to be obtained before one can be considered to have mastered the information on which one is being tested. Follow the PPS districts logic: taking your driving permit test should be given on a 1-5 scale, there fore allowing people with little or no knowledge of the rules of the road behind the wheel.

Any test that we take has a certain level that is considered unsatisfactory and therefore not passing, including tests for applications to a labor union (eg carpentry), MCATS for medical school acceptance, and boards for becoming a registered nurse.

Instead, we should be pursuing policies that will help all students attain the level of knowledge that help them become productive citizens.

This policy serves no one and should be protested. Shame on the PG for not presenting the full story.

Anonymous said...

Really, the priorities are getting people into Pgh Promise, increasing graduation rates, and preventing the predicted result that magnets like IB and sci tech would be mostly white, even if they need to fudge grades to do so.

Anonymous said...

Anon, perhaps the only thing that bothers me is that the idea of academic integrity is being sacrificed. In looking at this issue, it's quite clear: the Pittsburgh Promise is what Mr.Roosevelt wishes to hang his hat on. Fine. He deserves kudos for concocting this plan, especially in these times.
But the bottom line seems to be a realization that many graduates would not be eligible for the promise thanks to poor grades that had them scraping. So, the idea seems to be--let's inflate those grades to get more kids into the promise.
That's troubling to me.

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is this. The PPS system enables students. Whether it is the inflated grading policy, waving attendance standards, ignoring tardy policies, circumventing the discipline code, etc., in the long run, we are not benefitting students. We are not preparing them for the real world. Here is a case in point. An agency hired a recent Allderdice graduate to be a home nursing aide. She had to feed, get the homebound elderly person to the bathroom, etc. This young aide called off sick twice, and was late (very) three times in two weeks. The family contacted the agency and asked for her to be replaced. Her high school experience taught her that she could take off and be tardy. Walk the halls at Allderdice when the bell rings and you will see all the students still in the hallways. I believe they can be tardy 4 times before a penalty is assessed. And when grades close, observe all the students with excuses trying to get absences waived. They work the system. We are not preparing our students for reality.

The Answer said...

Careful now. A few parents here will tell you that they are sick of whining.

She said...

What whining? Example of problems, implicit suggestion of solution -- make sure rules have consequences and that they are given. And an example of the disservice we do to kids when this doesn't happen is even given.

Every HS student can tell which teachers maintain the rules and which don't and they act accordingly. They also know if administrators back up the teachers or not.

The Answer said...

It's evident that you are unaware of the changing face of school discipline. The Allderdice teacher's comments about tardies and absences were one thing, and we haven't even begun to broach the subject of cell phones. Here's the problem...administration feels constricted by writing too many suspensions. They called on the carpet by central administration and prefer that such things aren't on their plate. After all, it's bad public relations to make note of kids being suspended and even worse when there is a black-white disparity, whether discipline issues are there or not. It's all about PR.
As for "implicit suggestion of solution", that's kinda humorous. A number of us have come aboard this fine site, made mention of problems, talked about solutions, discussed how administration does not listen to us, and then have been told we are too negative--or in the case of one teacher/poster--that we should feel bad for his students.

She said...

You can't help yourself can you?

I'm well aware of the pressure on building administrators to not report problems and to reduce suspensions and of the effect of those policies on the tenor of schools.

I truly don't understand why you can't see that parents and teachers and concerned building administrators working together is going to be more powerful than those same groups sitting here sniping at each other. I'm sure that's the central administration's favorite part of reading here.

I'd guess that people posting here agree at a 75-90% rate about the problems in our schools. Why do you assume that we're all against you/change?

Questioner said...

There does seem to be general agreement that higher standards not only need to be set but also that there must consequences for meeting or not meeting the standards (ie, high expectations alone are not enough).

Anonymous said...

The problem is that the "concerned building administrator's" hands are tied. They are not going to go against the Bellefield directives. They will be moved/demoted. Same goes for the teachers, their concerns fall on deaf ears. And the parents realize as evidenced by this site, that they only get stonewalled also.

Anonymous said...

I agree about all the forces against teachers and administrators (and parents) speaking out and getting heard (rather than just nodded at). I don't have a solution, but I do think there are some things each of those groups can do.

One is to get together a group -- perhaps teachers from different schools who all live in the same board member's district. Set up a meeting with your school board member and talk about the changes for the worse that have been seen in the last few years. Talk about the fear of speaking out. Recommend times that those board members should come to visit schools. Include like-minded parents.

Make suggestions here for what's needed in terms of change or what's been lost.

For instance, there have often been calls here for a comprehensive long-range plan, something that spells out 5 and 10 year goals and plans for buildings, programs, etc. Sometimes just having lots of different people saying the same thing gets that message heard.

For parents, the Parent Hotline does seem to get quick action on specific school issues if they haven't been addressed when you dealt with the school directly. It's my understanding that a school has a pretty short turn-around time to get back to the BOE with information regarding those calls. If only the parent hotline were set up to take complaints about the administration...

This is more abstract, but I do think we all need to realize that this isn't just a Pittsburgh/current administration thing. This is happening in districts across the country and Broad "trained" administrators are heading them up everywhere.

Check out the Broad program website and read the details of the "10-month" program:
www.broadacademy.org

It's got a pretty partisan view but this blog pulls together all sorts of news stories and research about the current wave of "reform":
http://schoolsmatter.blogspot.com/

Questioner said...

It is very true that similar issues that have arisen in Pittsburgh in recent years are also issues in other school districts around the country. However, if teachers are fearful about speaking out, most likely they will be fearful of speaking to board members about this problem.

Anonymous said...

The post about the Broad "trained" administrators hit the nail on the head. When a Broad graduate gets a position, ie. Roosevelt, they are supposed to bring in other employees from Broad. Roosevelt has brought in at least one Broad trained person. I can't remember who it is right now. Broad is like a giant pyramid scheme taking over the education in our country.

Anonymous said...

http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/team4/18873477/detail.html

Here is the link to WTAE's report on students' lack of academic readiness for college. PPS' rate is 53% of graduates who go on to college, need remedial courses. Other school districts' rates and costs are all listed. Inflating grades in the long run hurts our students and costs money.

Anonymous said...

Yup, and it's all the teachers' faults.

Anonymous said...

If the last comment was a serious one then you must also believe that our country's financial problems have been caused by the bank tellers.