No zeros in school any longer. But aren’t there well deserved zeros?

report cardI have been getting lots of emails from Lowndes County folks about their new edicts on grading: Students in grades 3 through 8 cannot be given “zeros” and must be allowed to retake tests until they pass.

As a teacher explained to me: One such policy that was recently implemented by our superintendent completely does away with student accountability. Please go to the Lowndes County Board of Education website and read about the grading policy that was started last week.  Teachers were sent a letter mandating that no grades will be given under a 70. Teachers are to reteach and retest each child until he passes an assignment  — all assignments.  This policy also states that no zeros will be entered in the gradebook.

Here are excerpts from the new grade guide:

All children will be given the opportunity to learn and redo assignments, especially if a child makes a  failing grade. Daily grades and test grades are included. If your child scores  below 70%, the teacher is to re-teach the standard using a variety of resources, including technology. After the intervention/reteaching,  the teacher is to reassess, and your child will receive the higher grade attained – not an average of the two assessments or assignments. Reassessment is required once for all children  scoring  below 70% on assignments used for grading purposes. We want all children to improve. Even,  a child scoring above 70% should be afforded an opportunity to improve as well. Additional reassessments for all children are at the discretion of the teacher and/or school administration.

Zeros are unacceptable. Teachers are to give your child an I (Incomplete) for work not turned in and are to insist that the assignment is completed. Zeros will not be used. If your child consistently scores below 70%, the teacher is to contact you and arrange for a conference. Teachers should seek help in  determining what other resources are available to help your child, including – but not limited to -  academic coaches, team leaders, grade chairs, counselors, administration, or the Response to Intervention process (i.e., classroom modifications, student support team, special education). Teachers are required to communicate often and well with you, and grades are expected to be posted to te Parent Portal grade book no less than once per week.

I had an interesting conversation about this policy, which is not an unusual one, with a metro area administrator who didn’t understand all the fuss.

Her point: The goal of schools should not be to fail students with “gotcha” policies, but to teach them the material until they master it. She asked: Which policy gets kids there faster — handing them zeros and saying, “Sorry, you didn’t get it the first time but we’re moving on without you,” or working with them until they do get it?

There are kids who legitimately struggle with material and for whom this policy sounds appropriate. In fact, there are private schools that promise no failing grades because they “teach to mastery” on the student’s timeline. Students are not penalized because it took them two months to master material that most of their classmates grasped in two weeks. The goal is to get all students across the finish line, but it doesn’t have to be at the same time.

But aren’t there well deserved zeros?

I would argue that middle school teachers have some students who simply don’t do the work. They get it; they just don’t do it. The Lowndes policy calls for multiple interventions for obdurate students, but wouldn’t a zero make an important statement?

How else do adolescents learn that there are consequences for failure to comply with assignments? In the classroom, it is a zero. In the workplace, it is termination.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

460 comments Add your comment

GeeMac

February 3rd, 2012
9:38 am

“How else do adolescents learn that there are consequences for failure to comply with assignments? In the classroom, it is a zero. In the workplace, it is termination.”

Spot on, Maureen. While I agree that the point is to continue working with a struggling student to help them reach success, what do we do about the ones who simply refuse? And what are we to do with the rest of the students who learned the material and are ready to move on? And when are teachers to provide this additional instruction and supervise the multiple re-takes?

The message to students will be loud and clear. It’s okay if you decide not to study, prepare, participate. You’ll have as many chances as you like.

Dunwoody Mom

February 3rd, 2012
9:40 am

I can understand the concept of taking a test until the student passes – isn’t that the purpose of school – to actually learn? But, heck, if a student fails to turn in assignments, projects, etc., then a big fat YES they should get a zero.

Teacher, Too

February 3rd, 2012
9:48 am

With all the meetings we are required to attend, when are teachers supposed to find the supplemental materials and create the “redo” tests and assignments?

I have been saying this for years… if a child knows (and trust me, they know), that they don’t have to attempt or complete an assignment, or study for a test, because they will have an infinite number of times to do it, why should they?

If a child has a ball game, well, he/she thinks: I don’t have to do my homework or study for a test because I can retake it as many times as I want….

Another straw on the back of the already straining and bent teachers. We’re about to break.

Scott

February 3rd, 2012
9:50 am

And student accountability fades further into the background. We are raising a generation of wimps that blames anyone and anything besides themselves for their shortcomings.

I’m not dead set against retaking a test or dropping a lowest score on occasion, but unlimited retakes is just stupid. Where is the pressure for the child to study and be ready for the test?

How is avoiding zeroes on grades going to prepare students for real life… where one mistake can cost you your job or maybe even someone’s life?

Can we make learning any less urgent?

Boo to any county who puts even less responsibility on the student.

SGAdmin

February 3rd, 2012
9:53 am

Smart students will inflate their average because if you get to retake the test as many times as you want then you soon learn the correct answers. Is there any limit on the number of times a student can “improve” their grade? When are all these extra chances supposed to happen? Many teachers do what they can to help students. Some students just won’t do the work. Not because they don’t get it but because they won’t do it. They should get the zero. Accountability and consequences should not be aimed just at the teacher but to the students and parents as well.

carlosgvv

February 3rd, 2012
9:54 am

“Zeros are unacceptable”. I can see, years from now, a person who has grown up in this kind of school getting fired for making one bad mistake at work and leaving this job in dumb incomprehension because of not being able to do it over and over unitl they get it right. This kind of thinking lends credence to the idea that people teach school because they are too mediocre to make it in the business world.

Bryan G.

February 3rd, 2012
9:55 am

Sure…let’s just give everyone A’s to start with, why not? Ridiculous.

Sometimes you learn by failure.

nelson

February 3rd, 2012
9:57 am

Actually if I were to receive a zero, I would say, “there is room for improvement.” The student is transmitting to the teacher that he is tryING TO “FINd himself.” I know my teachers were always alluding to my low scores. My mom being a teacher made it doubly embarrasing.
By the time i left school, i felt like an idiot. If the teachers had ever tried to find something i liked it would not have been that way. I think that is what a teacher should do, find out whaT THE student likes and head him in that direction. Otherwise, it is trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.
Soooooooo, a zero is a valuable indicator for the teacher to go towards what the student has an interest in.

mift

February 3rd, 2012
9:57 am

What is the purpose of schooling: learning or grading? This policy speaks to the fact that students learn at different rates and with different supports. Is the goal of teaching to hold kids accountable for a fixed measurement in time or to ensure all students learn at high levels? Your reaction to this article tells upon which side of the fence you fall.

AlreadySheared

February 3rd, 2012
10:00 am

Policies like this are the embodiment of ‘the soft bigotry of low expectations.’

EITHER
you love kids enough challenge them to rise to a high level of achievement, and to learn to ‘play for keeps’ in school and in life,
OR
you infantilize and ultimately handicap them with twaddle like this.

Pathetic.

Middle School Teacher who is glad it's Friday...

February 3rd, 2012
10:01 am

I’m impressed that it has taken Lowndes county this long to go to this policy.

The county I’m in has had this policy for at least 10 years. Some of my kids have figured out that they can be a complete and total b—hole on test day, throw the test at the me (or worse), use profanity, and get sent to ISS to nap for the rest of the day. And they STILL get to retake the test over and over again.

A college professor friend of mine was horrified when a parent emailed him with the demand to allow a student to retake a test because they didn’t do well.

MannyT

February 3rd, 2012
10:13 am

Maureen, you nailed it. There are well deserved zeros. It’s better to learn the consequence of not trying when you are a kid, than to get hit with that reality as an oft fired adult.

In the end, I think there should be differentiation between a student who puts in regular effort to get a C and the student who is pushed up to a C via 27 extra chances. I’m pretty sure that I’d prefer to hire the regular performer over the slacker.

AlreadySheared

February 3rd, 2012
10:15 am

And here’s abject stupidity encapsulated in one sentence:

“Teachers are to give your child an I (Incomplete) for work not turned in and are to insist that the assignment is completed.”

If teachers were able to “insist that the assignment is completed” in any sort of meaningful way, they wouldn’t need to give an “I” in the first place.

——-
Kim Jong Il: Hans Brix? Oh no! Oh, herro. Great to see you again, Hans!
Hans Blix: Mr. Il, I was supposed to be allowed to inspect your palace today, but your guards won’t let me enter certain areas.

Kim Jong Il: Hans, Hans, Hans! We’ve been frew this a dozen times. I don’t have any weapons of mass destwuction, OK Hans?

Hans Blix: Then let me look around, so I can ease the UN’s collective mind. I’m sorry, but the UN must be firm with you. Let me in, or else.

Kim Jong Il: Or else what?

Hans Blix: Or else we will be very angry with you… and we will write you a letter, telling you how angry we are.

“Team America: World Police”

Dragonlady

February 3rd, 2012
10:35 am

Glad I don’t teach in Lowndes County.

Good Question from Good Mom

February 3rd, 2012
10:35 am

This is a good question “How else do adolescents learn that there are consequences for failure to comply with assignments? In the classroom, it is a zero. In the workplace, it is termination.”

In school suspension for middle school and above is appropriate along with mandatory tutoring until 5 p.m. For example, when a middle-schooler is trained that he or she can continue to retake the test again and again until they pass, they may “check out” and not care but if there are other consequences such as — they have to stay at school and continue learning while other children are outside playing, it may make a difference. Sports teams should also be out of the question until they are caught up — and I want to make it clear I am not proposing eliminating physical exercise, I am talking about sports teams. We had the same policy when i was a kid. If we didn’t keep our grades up we could not cheerlead. We had to sit out of the games.

i also want to be clear I am not talking about failing tests. I am talking about not turning in school work — those zeros.

For kids under middle school age, there has to be a program to save the kid and not punish the child. At this very tender age, the burden is on the adults. children this young do not have the ability to plan and anticipate. One week is an eternity in their minds.

I do certainly appreciate the no zero policy because it holds schools accountable. A teacher cannot simply say “ah, they’re stupid. He or she doesn’t get it. Zero.” That zero may make the child feel like a complete loser and damage his or her image of themselves in such a way they believe they are dumb and unable to perform. (Think how easily those innocent children were duped into believing the abuse was a game.)

Children are vulnerable and school systems have to try harder. We cannot allow anyone to simply “write-off” a child has unteachable.

We gotta help the children. It’s what’s best for all of we Americans and what’s best for all of our society.

Mahopinion

February 3rd, 2012
10:37 am

Oh dear, the precious little snowflakes mustn’t be made to feel bad about their lack of effort. It’s almost as if they are unionized.

Old timer

February 3rd, 2012
10:37 am

People pretty much have this nailed. My last two years of teaching, I was required to give sixth graders unlimited chances for success. The paper work for 180students was a nightmare. I am one of those teachers that does grade the work. I do believe some need more time, but for those who just don’t care it is a mess. And believe me…they know the rules.

To Teacher Too from Good Mom

February 3rd, 2012
10:38 am

You asked a good question “With all the meetings we are required to attend, when are teachers supposed to find the supplemental materials and create the “redo” tests and assignments?”

Between 2:30 when school is over and 5:00 p.m. when most people work anyway on their full time job.

You also have the assistance of the student support team…and there is that long 10 week summer break where you can do some planning.

Lori

February 3rd, 2012
10:41 am

While I understand the theory behind this…letting each child learn at his or her own pace…I can’t quite grasp how this will really work in practice. How is a teacher really supposed to have time to continue teaching 30 + students material at different rates. It’s not very realistic.

Old timer

February 3rd, 2012
10:41 am

In Nashville GM, they had some low achieving schools that went to longer days an or extended year….the parents. Omplained be ause it was not “fair”.then they made it a choice and ran two bus deliveries and almost no one showed up. The practice has now been discontinued. I do think tutoring after school would help.

K's Mom

February 3rd, 2012
10:42 am

Enter your comments here

jess

February 3rd, 2012
10:43 am

Meanwhile the smart, motivated students sit on the sidelines waiting for everyone else to catch up. We have been “dumbing” down schools since the 1960’s, and it shows.

Lee

February 3rd, 2012
10:46 am

I agree with those who ask “What are we teaching these kids? What will happen when they get out into the “real world”?”

I mean, what happens in the real world when you go through a drive-through and dump a cup of steaming hot coffee in your lap. It is nobody’s fault but your own. Are we going to hold the fast food establishment responsible for handing you a cup of hot coffee?

Oh, wait…. Bad example.
————————————-

All joking aside, at the heart of this matter is that the current public school methodology is to dump everyone into the same classroom for the first 6-8 years of their education. The genius and the dolt, the inspired and unmotivated are sitting beside each other and the educrat wonks think they will learn at the same pace.

Notgonnahappen.

At some point, schools are going to have to slaughter some politically correct golden calves and segregate by ability level and provide instruction at a pace commensurate with that group’s ability level. Also, at some point, schools are going to have to segregate the students who refuse to do the work away from the mainstream.

But no. Everybody’s equal in this politically correct utopia. Let’s gather ’round and sing Kumbaya.

All together now…..

Warrior Woman

February 3rd, 2012
10:47 am

Already Sheared is right. Absolutely ridiculous to require no grades below 70 and no 0 (which seems a bit redundant). Do the work and you won’t get bad grades. This causes grade inflation, dumbing down of material to ensure everyone gets at least 70, and teaches kids there are no consequences to not doing your work. Low expectations leads to low achievement.

That said, I’m not opposed to providing opportunities outside of normal class (before/after school, recess, instead of extracurriculars, etc.) for additional learning opportunities and possibly opportunities to improve grades. However, this should require extra effort by the student, not just a mandate from above that no one gets a bad grade regardless of the quality of their work or their complete lack of effort.

To Mahopinion from Good Mom

February 3rd, 2012
10:47 am

Mahopinoin, you bfrought up a good point about “Oh dear, the precious little snowflakes mustn’t be made to feel bad about their lack of effort.”

I want to take a step back and think about that “lack of effort” and why it happens. Please remember, we are talking about 3-8th graders. At those ages, clearly, these children have been influenced by and are in complete control of adults. If a child doesn’t do the homework, who is at fault?

If a child doesn’t care about school who is at fault?

The fault lies at the feet of the adults in their lives.

Either they have no support or proper guidance at home or they aren’t being supported in school.

An adult failed them and that is why we have to try harder with younger children. We have to work harder to instill good work ethics in kids.

For example, many schools provide a check off list to parents along with their homework. I have to initial everything my child does. When a parent doesn’t sign and doesn’t communicate, one can suspect the student isn’t being given the proper guidance and attention at home. That’s when an alert school system needs to step in.

I speak from experience. My neglectful “parents” did not provide me with proper undergarments. I was shamed and ridiculed by teachers for not wearing a bra. I was given a zero in PE because i wasn’t wearing the right attire. Whose fault is that?

It was the fault of an adult, my own parents, of course.

So, before we rush to throw these kids under the bus, think who is really at fault here and let’s do whatever we can to save the kids.

GM

K's Mom

February 3rd, 2012
10:50 am

Sorry for the empty post. THis is a very interesting topic and something I have read a lot about recently as we try to begin making educational decisions for our boys, one of which is 20 months old and the other is due in May.

First of all, Maureen’s last statement is spot on. Failure is essential to the learning process and to get a student ready for college and life. Hovever, this is where my beef is. Teachers are so overworked and overburdened taking care of not students but of helicpoter parents, they generally can no longer teach. What I would like to see is teachers be allowed some autonomy and be able to fail and give zeroes to the kids who are not trying and disrupting class, while being able to take the time to work with the struggling student who is willing to work hard to master the material. If teachers could get rid of the dead weight, they would have time to properly differentiate for the student who learns differently or just does not get the concept that is being taught. If a student is truly trying and working hard, I have no issue with some retesting and additional work to reinforce the concepts (although I believe unlimited retesting can get absurd).

I think this is what a lot of folks are getting at on this board and I am so happy to see some reasonable parenting going on, because there are times I feel like we are in a society of people who care more about sporting a bumper sticker proclaiming that their kids is on a meaningless honor roll than we are about truly inspiring our kids to learn by allowing teachers to do their jobs!

Sandy Springs Parent

February 3rd, 2012
10:51 am

Fulton County supposedly has a no lower than 50 policy. However, it does not apply if your child takes AP, IB, Honors, or tough science classes like Physics. Then your kid is screwed!. The policy states that if your child gets below a 70 on any test in a class then they will be allowed to retake it within two weeks. How is this avoided. Teachers don’t put the original grade in the book for over two weeks, in the hard classes. Opps you failed to meet the 2 week make-up policy. Then when I pointed out that the class average grade in AP US History was well below failing as was the average call grade on the mid term final in Physics. All of the Physics classes all sections AP and the regular sections. How do I know this the on-line reports, state what the class average grade for each assignment. I asked when would the make up midterm finals be for the AP US History class, since not only my child but the majority of the class failed the midterm exam. I was laughed at. I then asked what about Physics. The highest grade in any section that this awful East Indian teacher got on either the AP or regular Physics exam was a 74. I again was laughed at.

Of course the AP US History teacher who is the coach of the baseball team went on to tell parents at the open house that he understood that most of these kids in AP classes had never experienced failure but they would in his class.

I also wondered why the counsler was trying to steer us out of Physics to a General Science class. My daughter had high A’s in Biology and Chemistry and wanted to be a doctor. The real truth was bad teachers.

Fulton county does not administer it’s retake policy fairly the students in AP and harder classes are screwed. Especially when they get a bad teacher. They aren’t allowed retakes. But the minority students in the general classes who don’t give a damn are.

cris

February 3rd, 2012
10:52 am

Another idea that sounds great/looks tough on paper, but in reality, puts all of the responsibility on the teacher for the students’ learning. Now before some of you start foaming, YES – the teacher is responsible for the student’s learning AS IS the student – it’s a 50/50 proposition. The only students who recieve zeroes in my classes are those who simply choose not to do the work. That’s commonly referred to as laziness, not lack of understanding, not failure to master the material….plus, if a teacher has to take class time to re-assess, that takes away from the students who have already proven their understanding – you’re punishing the good students! Holding them back! Any parents out there want their child killing time while the lazy ones re-take. No thanks.

guest

February 3rd, 2012
10:52 am

Just another step back for our education system while other countries continue to move forward.

V for Vendetta

February 3rd, 2012
10:58 am

Dragonlady,

And how long do you think it will be before this spreads elsewhere? I fear not long. This is the type of ridiculous thinking that the educrats believe will increase student achievement via smoke and mirrors.

sloboffthestreet

February 3rd, 2012
10:59 am

Maybe I’m missing something here but after looking at the page on their website it says that 2 grades will be given. They are to be printed one number over another for each class. One will be a % between 1-100 and the other will be a numerical grade not lower than a 60. However you wish to view this it is obvious the students and parents will be made aware of grades given and proper progress. The reason given for a minimum of a 60 is so a one time grade of 0 given a student will not drastically effect their GPA for the year. I have not read anything indicating the school board is absolving students of completing assignments or handing in sub par work. What I am reading on here once again is a group complaining about having to do their job and them having to be responsible for a job well done.

Scott wrote,

“And student accountability fades further into the background. We are raising a generation of wimps that blames anyone and anything besides themselves for their shortcomings.”

Now I am taking the liberty of changing a few words in his statement. See how you like it.

“And teacher accountability fades further into the background. We have raised a generation of wimps that blames anyone and anything besides themselves for their shortcomings.”

Ain’t that a beaut?

To Oldtimer from Good Mom

February 3rd, 2012
11:01 am

YOu said “then they made it a choice and ran two bus deliveries and almost no one showed up.”

Exactly. Those kids didn’t have a choice. Their parents made their choice for them. The adults in their lives, their own parents, failed them. This is where I would advocate the state/feds/govt stepping in and having some control. I don’t trust DFACS in GA but we cannot allow any adult, including parents, to fail the child.

I am very certain that if my parents were not required to send me to school, they wouldn’t have. It is only because of laws requiring it that I was able to attend.

I attended poor schools and many kids did not have tennis shoes. Now, that is hard to believe but at that time, tennis shoes were not the norm, hard-soled “mary Jane” shoes with buckles were the norm.

Now, the gym “teacher,” a coach, wanted to protect the wooden gym floor, which was recently resurfaced and required everyone to bring tennis shoes to school to wear to PE class. (Remember, no one just wore tennis shoes back in that time.)

So, the poor students showed up with no tennis shoes and got zeros. They sat on the benches and watched the rest of the kids participate. They also failed PE because of those zeros. Who was at fault here? I think the school in this case. These kids were really poor. The parents couldn’t provide another pair of shoes. I think the teacher should have allowed the kids to at least wear their socks and get the exercise and participate. Heck, all we were doing was playing dodgeball or crab soccer.

There has to be some compassion in a school system. There has to be some caring and understanding. There is certainly room for a compromise in these situations. Wouldn’t you agree?

Teacher, Too

February 3rd, 2012
11:02 am

Good Mom, I don’t know where you teach or if you teach, but my day does not end at 2:30. I am at work by 8:00 AM (three 8:15 meetings this week), and I rarely leave before 5:30- 6:00, as that is the only time I really have to focus on grading papers. My contract school day is 8:30-4:30, but as you can see, I NEVER actuall;y have those hours. And, of course, that doesn’t include the days when I’m at work at 7:30 and stay until 7:00 in the evening (twice last week).

This week, I have had NO planning period until today, and I would not be surprised if something came up and I had to attend yet another meeting. Every day was filled with a different meeting- grade level, two parent meetings, collaboration meeting.

In fact, the only reason I am able to post this right now is that my students are taking ten minutes for dedicated writing.

So, maybe you have working hours of 8:30-2:30, but that is not my reality.

Oh, by the way, I’ll be working a second job this summer to compensate for the loss of income the past several years. And, my school has no shame in asking teachers to contribute to numerous “causes” over the school year– and the pressure to contribute is intense. Five dollars here, ten dollars there, one hundred dollars to wear jeans… in this economy, it’s ridiculous, but I don’t want to be ostracized, so I find a way to make it happen.

V for Vendetta

February 3rd, 2012
11:05 am

cris,

You’re right. How can we be held responsible for laziness, and how come parents are not expected to enforce ANYTHING that takes place within the school walls. This not only removes the burden of responsibility from the students but also from their parents–who should be actively involved in their educations. I’m sick of parents placing all responsibility for the educational process (and more) on teachers and schools. We’re supposed to teach them. We’re supposed to discipline them. Heck, we’re even supposed to FEED them (which is the most disgusting and pathetic part of the whole deal). How long will it be before we’re expected to provide them with clothes and shelter?

What the heck are parents for?

MeAgain

February 3rd, 2012
11:08 am

I don’t have a problem with reteaching as long as the student really wants to learn and just doesn’t understand something. All students get their “ah ha” moment at different rates and with the speed that kids are taught concerpts these days, somethings do need to be retaught or presented in a different way. But teachers shouldn’t have to do this for the kids who don’t want to learn and are just there to make trouble. I don’t know what to think about retaking a test until it’s passed. That seems odd to me. What about letting them take the CRCT over until the get to exceeds expectations (LOL).

@ks mom from Good Mom

February 3rd, 2012
11:08 am

Listen to ks mom describe a human being, a child:

” If teachers could get rid of the dead weight….”

Dead weight? A child is a dead weight?

This is exactly the kind of verbal abuse and shocking commentary that sickens me.

Mountain Man

February 3rd, 2012
11:10 am

So when does the teacher make time to re-teach all the subject matter that the student didn’t get the first time (perhaps because they WEREN’T THERE). And what about the homework that was supposed to be turned in on Monday, that now can be turned in anytime? I know that businesses will be glad to know that schools put no importnce on “on-time” delivery.

Local Girl

February 3rd, 2012
11:13 am

Good mother: When do you think the teachers are attending all of these meetings? From 2:30 to 5:30 when they ALREADY work at their full-time job. This is the time of day when most teachers I know are already meeting with parents, attending staff development, grading papers and planning curriculum. Also, who do you think the student support team is? It’s the teachers, with a counselor and maybe an administrator thrown in. It is not extra support for the teachers…it’s extra work for the teachers, meant to help support the struggling students.

And I think it has been sufficiently addressed that a) summer is not 10 weeks long, b) teachers already spend a lot of time in summer planning and attending staff development, and c) teachers DO NOT GET PAID for the weeks they do not work in the summer. Please point me in the direction of all the full-time workers you know who would spend all of their unpaid time off working.

All that said, I think the real problem with this is not the burden on teachers (which could be quite a lot), but the lack of accountability that it will teach children when parents abuse the policy (and they will). It has merits in theory, but will be abused by students who do not want to work. A policy like this would be better used as an accommodation provided through the SST/RTI process, rather than a blanket policy for all students.

To Teacher too from Good Mom

February 3rd, 2012
11:14 am

You write “My contract school day is 8:30-4:30, but as you can see, I NEVER actuall;y have those hours.”

Every teacher at my child’s school it out the door at 2:30. It is like a ghost town in there.

If you are having a hard time managing the work for failing students and you are diligently working more than 10 hours every day, five days a week, you need to contact the student support team for more help and talk to other teachers who are managing their time well. Right now I have a much more flexible schedule and I am spending more time with my children and pick them up from school sometimes instead of aftercare and I see teachers out and about shopping, do all the things that other people are doing who are not working…so I just don’t see that teachers are putting in 50 hour work weeks and still not being able to complete their tasks.

Mountain Man

February 3rd, 2012
11:14 am

This is exactly what is wrong with education today. And what if the student takes the test every day and STILL fails (because he doesn’t want to learn because that would be acting “too white”.) Give him a 70 and “socially promote” him to the next grade. It is no wonder our school systems are in the shape they are in, with ludicrous practices such as this one.

Love Education

February 3rd, 2012
11:14 am

Love the “dumbing-down” aspirations of Americans. Could this be why other nations are WAY ahead of our children? Nope, you’re “too stupid to fail.” Educational bail-outs. It never ends.

Struthers

February 3rd, 2012
11:15 am

In life you don’t get any “do-overs”. There is also something else in play here. Those kids who are highly motivated, want to learn and to excel, need to be allowed to do it. If all kids are given B’s or are somehow kept in lock-step, you won’t have the competition necessary to drive those with ability to excel and achieve. We need to reward the winners in school, as they will be rewarded in life. The slackers, and those who just don’t study for exams should suffer the consequences, or they will be the ones who will end up in the welfare category in their adult life.

Gordon Solie

February 3rd, 2012
11:17 am

There are a few subtle points here that I think need to be brought out. First, we all assume that grades are motivating factors to students. That is not always the case and definitely not to those students that do poorly in school. The second point is that fact that a zero is an unfair grade when it comes to taking the mean of student scores. For example you may have a student that has four test grades of 100, 100, 100, and 0 (say the student missed the test and did not or could not make it up for a variety of reasons). Obviously we see that the child is doing very well and if not for the zero would be making a 100 average. However, when divided out he ends up with a 75 which is a C. This is hardly fair and thus the issue when zeros are averaged into a student’s grade. This is an over simplification of the problem, but it is not rare to see a child’s grade fluctuate 10-15 points just because of zeros. It really has nothing to do with whether or not the student understands the material; it is all about giving grades. Lastly I am sure that this stems from NCLB requirements, especially regarding graduation rates, trying to keep students in school to make sure that they make AYP.

Ashley

February 3rd, 2012
11:18 am

I’ll say one thing, we are determined to turn out a bunch of wimpy, I want my way kids. If a child doesn’t do 70% of the work he doesn’t deserve a C-. What about the A/B students are they just suppose to sit by and let the below average students take up all the instructor time. I assume most of the kids are not in any sort of special education , so what is the problem here. So now the student knows he won’t be flunked or given the dreaded “F” or “0″. What is the incentive to make him do anything but mediocre work? Seems to me like the student is holding all the cards. I can’t believe parents would be pleased with this set -up. Would someone please remain this administration that these students will one day be adults, and the last time I check any job they might receive requires you to complete all your responsbilites not just 70%. In the the real world….which obviously this school is not living in , zero work leads to termination. You learn from mistakes sometimes by failing. If there is no effort on the student’s part to study and do the require assignment or complete the test he/she should be retained or flunked. Making sure said students gets a 70 at all cost is a form of cheating. It cheats the students who are there to learn , it cheats the parents, and it cheats the below average student, by telling them …its alright if you don’t pass you will receive a passing score anyway. In any other scenario a 70 would raise eyebrows. You can barely get a driver license with a grade of 70, a restaurant or a public venue would not be happy with a 70, and I would like to be a fly on the wall when you tell your employer you can only do 70% of the work….how would that work out for you? Mediocrity is never a good thing, don’t get me started on do-overs.

KB

February 3rd, 2012
11:19 am

And on the opposite side, students who are doing their work and progressing more quickly must be able to move ahead, whether it’s on to the next unit or jump a grade in any particular subject. Technology is coming (that teachers won’t necessarily like) that will inevitably allow that.
That way, the students who ‘earn’ zeroes will see their classmates moving farther ahead.

To Mift from Good Mom

February 3rd, 2012
11:20 am

Your comment was profound:

“Is the goal of teaching to hold kids accountable for a fixed measurement in time or to ensure all students learn at high levels? Your reaction to this article tells upon which side of the fence you fall.”

Students learn at differnt paces, especially in the early grades where just six months makes a huge difference.

If you look at the kids in the tutoring programs (those students who are given extra tutoring time by teachers because they are behind) you will see a very predictable trend — they are almost exclusively boys with late birthdays.

Students not only learn at individual paces they are also just simply younger than their peers.

Metro Coach

February 3rd, 2012
11:20 am

Well Good Mom, your comments have been sickening those of us that read them, it was about time somebody returned the favor. Anyone who has been in a classroom knows ecactly what ks mom meant when she talked about dead weight. Unfortunately, whether its nature or nuture, there are plenty of children who are “dead weight”, they drag the entire class down with them because they refuse to do even the simplest of assignments. Not “can’t do them”, but “refuse to do them.” Those students who are not capable aren’t the “dead weight” its the ones who can but refuse because of policies like the one in Lowndes County.

Former Teacher2

February 3rd, 2012
11:22 am

How long are we going to put up with all this? This blog is getting boring because it revisits the same things over and over…Why don’t we as a society try to get to the bottom of some of these issues? Here is an idea. First of all, let’s swap out the teaching staff of Northview with that of Westlake or Tri Cities for next fall. The Fulton County school board can certainly reassign teachers at will. The teachers, who no doubt will be delighted to still be employed and are considered to be equal in every way, can answer the question of whether it is the quality of the teacher or quality of the student determing success. (There are already teachers who live in Fairburn that drive to north county and teachers from Dunwoody who drive to south county. If one can, they all can.) If south county schools improve and north county schools decline, we know it is the teachers. If everything remains the same, it is the quality of students. If parents complain, it is the parents…We have to promise to do this for three or four years to get some good data. Cobb should move the Walton teachers as well. It wouldn’t cost the taxpayers anything and it might answer some very important questions. Just sayin’…

Another Math Teacher

February 3rd, 2012
11:22 am

Ms. Downey,

You’ve totally lost control with the constant trolling by certain posters.

Metro Coach

February 3rd, 2012
11:22 am

Zeros are rarely given unless the student does not turn in the work. Most of the time any attempt will be given some credit even if it is totally wrong. Some of you people need to stop commenting because you have not idea what you’re talking about.