Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

Should a student’s lowest grade be 50 percent?

Ohanian Comment: Eons ago, the faculty at my middle school almost came to blows over this issue when the board passed the "no lower than 50 rule." Ohmygod, you'd have thought the world was coming to an end over the "injustice" of giving a kid a break. . . in hopes that even the worst truant and misbehaver in the school might realize one day that he had a chance to become a student.

Comments on the website are typical--venting their ire at middle schoolers when they could be taking on bankers, politicos, media quislings. . . . But these people declare, "You get what you EARN."


My experience is that teachers with this hard-nosed attitude can't see the kid for the numbers surrounding him. The public who express this view plain just don't know what they're talking about.

Comment: Why 50%? Why not 60%? Why not 70%? And people wonder why our schools are a laughing stock! Where do these people come from? I would love to get half pay for doing no work!

Comment: Maybe if the Board would stop coddling kids in middle school they would actually be prepared for high school. Instead, some want to coddle the high school kids also. The worst thing to happen to education was to go away from the junior high concept where kids learned accountability, to the middle school model where kids are coddled too much. There are great middle school teachers and I respect the whole lot of them, but the concept of middle school is awful.

Comment:You get what you EARNâ¦..
Keep TALKING STEMâ¦.. 50% for no work?????

Comment: We teachers need the ability to show students that choosing to no work (or come unprepared constantly to class â though thatâs another issue) has consequences. In the adult world, no work equals no pay, and the amount reflects both effort and skill. In school a student's "pay" is a grade that reflects their levels of both skill and effort, too.

by Sentinel News blog

At all Orange middle schools, grades of zero are bumped up to 50 percent --also an F, but a higher one -- at the end of the grading period. Some do the same thing for individual assignments.

The high schools are less consistent. Some set a floor at 50, some vary from minimums of 35 to 60 and others allow zeroes. It is also not consistent whether grades are bumped up at the semester, marking period or assignment level.

That lack of consistency concerned board members, who discussed school grades at a workshop Thursday night. They said they were interested in moving forward with creating a consistent policy. They seemed to back a floor of 50 percent.

Deputy Superintendent Jesus Jara said he'd like to see the district eventually move to a four-point grading scale. But a group of principals who spoke to the board said there could also be a more consistent districtwide policy on the current grading scale. The three principals, who lead Edgewater, Oak Ridge and West Orange high schools -- said they'd like to see a districtwide floor of 50 percent at the semester point. Eventually, they said theyâd like to see the policy settle in at the level of individual assignments.

The problem with zero grades, administrators say, is that a student who misses a single assignment can see their grade drop several letter grades. A student who is struggling and gets several zeros can end up in a hole too deep to get out of.

However, many teachers say that no-zero policies take away a big chunk of their grading discretion. Teachers' union president Diana Moore said she is glad the district is tackling the issue.

Board member Nancy Robbinson said she'd like to see teachers retain the ability for teachers to give a grade like a 35 percent when work is not turned in. Board vice chair Christine Moore said that a student who misses even a week of school can face failure if they miss even a week of school.

"We need to be focused on what they know," said James Larsen, West Orange High principal, who is concerned with students being penalized out of proportion for not turning in assignments.

— blog
Sentinel School Zone





This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.