Larry Pahl 
Member since Dec 24, 2013


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Re: “Monday Math: MNPS' Ban on Grades of Zero

One thing I haven't seen on this thread yet... from a teacher in a district that uses the same system... Is that this "system" definitely breeds laziness. One of the strongest arguments for this welfare grading system is psychological - It argues that this will keep students who have fallen behind from despair because while they stood numerically little chance of getting back into the game, now, with the welfare, they will be more motivated to stay in the game. (Did no one mention that the school districts get more money for higher graduation rates, could that be the real motivator?) So my argument -- based on the actual outcomes of using this system -- also is a psychological one: If you use it, you will create greater laziness and gaming of the system from most classes of students, yes, even the elite. Students who were not performing are brought into the orbit of passing without really changing their habits, and students who once tried regularly now take advantage of the fact that they can skip assignments and still get nearly a passing grade. ALMOST NO ONE FAILS IN THIS WELFARE GRADING SYSTEM. Let me ask those who buy the numerical argument that insists that letter grades have to have numerical equidistance: Do you want your family to drive over a bridge designed by an engineer who only knows 50% of physics? Do you want to be operated on by a surgeon who passed his exams with a minimal 60%, taking advantage of skipping many physiology units by simply taking the 50% for doing nothing? Do you want a mechanic to fix your brakes who skipped several units in his mechanics training, by taking the 50% and doing just enough to pass? Lord Chesterton once said, "Before taking down a fence (the grading scale with 0-59 as failing) one should first ask for what purpose it was put up." There is more rationale for a scale with a 0-59 for failure than those who are only mathematicians can understand.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Larry Pahl on 12/24/2013 at 10:10 AM

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