Friday, October 01, 2021

Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations

If you want to see education thought at a twisted low, look no further than this example:

A YouTube video posted by Sunrise Park Middle School in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, details a new grading scale that lacks the letter "F."

The system, announced during the 2021-22 school year, does not include 0-49.9 percentiles for students.

"Our whole intent is to ensure that grades focus on the process of learning," Principal Christina Pierre said in the video. "Therefore, grades will not include behaviors, attitude, tardiness to class, whether the assignment was turned in late or on time. There's other ways that we can communicate those things to parents."

Associate Principal Norman Bell went on to elaborate that students are encouraged to retake/revise tests, quizzes, papers, projects and have a 10-day window to do so from the date the grade is posted. 

I can agree that grades should reflect academic achievement and not behavior, but retaking assessments just to get a higher grade defeats the purpose of the assessment in the first place.  Any incentive to do well on a test or quiz is removed, leaving the first attempt as nothing more than a "test reconnaissance".  It's a system designed with a student's mentality rather than an educator's; students view grades as a commodity to be hoarded, educators view grades as a record of achievement towards a set of academic standards.  This system is definitely of the "get the highest grade" genre, rather than the "let's see if the student has learned anything" genre.  It sickens me when educators at any level advocate this sort of system.

Rather than insist on learning, they just get rid of the grade that shows that students aren't learning.  Then they let students retake a test just to get a higher grade.  What, exactly, does the grade signify at that point?  The ability to hoard a commodity, is all.

And lest you think that this was done in a not-overly-full-of-white-students school,  US News shows this school to be 63.5% white and 9.7% Asian.

1 comment:

lgm said...

The purpose is to ensure that the right students bag the class rank they need for their ambitions. Look at the grade before and after under the policy in my district: 90 becomes a 95, 92 becomes a 96, 94 becomes 97, 98 becomes 99, 99 becomes 99.5. The struggle to banish or dilute Regents Exams is because they ID the phonies..the phonies are IDd by the state Regents Exam scorers in each high school win recognition...rare to have the be val and sal. Similar for SAT II.