We live in a strange country. First there was the whole "everybody wins" thing with school sports & competitions -- which is a load of bullpoop, in my opinion. Now children can't fail?? What?! Why?! I don't understand.

According to this article, there are a number of schools that don't let students fail because there isn't anything lower than a D. Other schools have a "no zero" policy in which, just as it sounds, teachers can't give children zeros on their work. And now there are schools that are using an H (for "held") instead of an F, meaning the students will have a chance to make up their work if it was not good enough the first time around.

I have so many problems with this, I don't even know where to start. Ugh.

First of all, it doesn't really make any sense. If a D (or an H) is the lowest grade, how is that different from an F? It's just a random letter assigned to a value - in this case the value is that you're the lowest you could be. Now the D is the lowest you could be. Guess what buddy, that means you just failed!

Second of all, this quote from the article really irks me:

"I never see anyone doing anything but punishing kids," said Taylor. "If the choice is between letting kids fail and giving them another opportunity to succeed, I'm going to err on the side of opportunity."

I don't know what kids are experiencing these days, but I almost always had a chance to improve on my work before the deadline. I could turn in rough drafts to track my progress and get feedback. For tests, if a student screwed up, some teachers gave chances for extra credit. Am I the only person whose education was set up this way? Because those sound like "opportunities to succeed" to me. There's no need for a 12-week extension on passing a freaking class!!

I understand the need to make things easier and better for students who legitimately need special attention. Students who are basically the parents at home, or who have a specific deterrent that prevents them from being able to complete their work in the "conventional" way. But this doesn't even really seem to be improving that. This is about making children feel better about the fact that they screwed up. Maybe I'm totally reading it wrong, but I just don't think that makes sense.

Not to mention the fact that (apart from the handful of power-hungry, bitter teachers who take their frustrations out on their students), teachers do not give students grades. Students EARN their grades. If their work is not up to par, there should be extra resources available to help those students. Giving them a D or H instead of an F isn't going to do anything to remedy that.

Am I wrong here? Is there something I'm missing?

7 comments:

At Fri Dec 05, 12:21:00 PM PXC_Macavity said...

No, D is not the new fail.

It's the schools that are USING this system that are the new fail . . . as in, THEY FAIL AT TEACHING THE STUDENTS PROPERLY!

 
At Fri Dec 05, 02:18:00 PM Llencelyn said...

I could rant on this for... ever.

Instead, I'll just say "word!" to your post, because it's spot-on.

 
At Fri Dec 05, 02:20:00 PM Anonymous said...

Teachers have their hands tied these days. The way schools are set up teachers aren't allowed to teach anymore. They spend all their time giving mindless meaningless tests and trying to make up for many children's lack of stabile homelives.

 
At Fri Dec 05, 10:31:00 PM fourth wave said...

I completely agree with you. This is ridiculous! Students should work hard to achieve the grades they want and shouldn't get an extension just because they "fail." Failing is supposed to be there as a sign that you need to step up and work harder. If students know they can't fail, aren't there some students who will take advantage and slack off knowing that they'll have a chance to make-up the work? Isn't that unfair to the students who do work hard and earn their grades over the time alloted? (It's true that there are occasionally extenuating circumstances that need to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, but this is not the answer.)

 
At Sun Dec 07, 04:39:00 PM frau sally benz said...

I agree with everyone's comments, and am glad to see that others out there agree with me.

The point Anonymous made about teachers teaching for test-taking rather than knowledge is something I've talked about with a lot of people over the years, and am shocked that it's still spreading rather than going away. Do people not realize that there are better ways to measure both student and teacher performance than these stupid tests??

 
At Mon Dec 08, 12:23:00 AM Elizabeth said...

The trouble here is that if kids go on to the next grade with a "D", they will forever be behind. Class-size and other factors make it simply impossible for the next teacher to get these students caught up.

Better to fail a grade than to fail school entirely.

 
At Sun Dec 14, 09:26:00 PM ChasingSunlight said...

As a future teacher, I think it's ridiculous that kids don't get an F. In reality, the only way to fail at the k-12 level is to do NO work for a class. If you try, but don't succeed, the points you get for participation and partial credit will be more than an F.

 

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