I just came across an
Schools like North-Grand that have successfully improved freshman pass rates employed variations of the same set of interventions. They adopted data systems to track freshmen progress, carefully picked the right teachers for ninth-graders, created weekly grade checks, provided mentors and tutoring sessions, stepped up truancy monitoring, set aside one day a week for students to make up work, and started freshman seminars that teach kids to “do high school.”
OK, sounds good. Spend a little money on data and support services.
Some schools also switched to forms of grading that are designed to be more fair and modern—less emphasis on turning in homework on time and more emphasis on actually learning—but have been accused of inflating GPAs.
Uh-oh. "Fair and modern?" What does that mean, exactly?
|We won't use all the numbers. Just the fair and modern ones.|
Some schools go too far, [teachers] say, by declining to penalize students for late work and prohibiting teachers from giving grades below 50. Traditionally, a student who didn’t hand in work would get a zero.
So teachers aren't allowed to assign a zero to someone who did zero work. Why the zero tolerance for zeroes? Because the number zero is just a big zero-y buzzkill who goes around pulling down averages and stuff. At least that's the reason given in the article: "A single zero can disproportionately pull down a student’s average."
Well, at least with standards so low, there's no need to doctor attendance records and inflate grades.
Once Chicago began pushing for higher freshmen pass rates, teachers started to complain that school administrators were cheating by doctoring attendance records and inflating grades...“It’s all data-driven and whatever they can do—lie, fudge, and steal—they’ll do to get the numbers up,” says Marilyn Parker, a Manley teacher. The two other teachers requested anonymity because they feared retaliation.
Retaliation? Come on, no one would actually--
“They’re letting kids manipulate the system,” says Manny Bermudez, a Juarez teacher who last year publicly confronted his school’s administration about attendance and grading practices and was later fired, after which he sued and was ultimately reinstated.
And although it might not seem to be in the students' best interest to get "passed along in ninth grade and begin tenth grade without basic skills, advancing in a similar fashion all the way to graduation," there is an important upside to this whole exercise: a brief taste of life as a one-percenter.
“When you go to elite schools, they won’t let you fail,” says Liz Kirby, a Chicago principal, now CPS administrator, who was an early adopter of on-track strategies. “Why don’t kids in public schools, poor kids, deserve a chance?”
|Rampant Grade Inflation will put a jamón ibérico in every pot!|