Grading Policy in Our Schools: What's the Real Story?

Yesterday's Chapel Hill News was full of items complaining about a change in the grading policy that the Chapel Hill Carrboro City School District is contemplating. They led me to go find and read the proposed policy itself.

Among other things, the proposal would limit the bottom score for schoolwork (whether completed or not) at a 61.

I was really quite stunned by the pervasiveness of teacher discontent with the proposal -- and the fact that the district would consider proceeding with such a change in the face of such broad dissatisfaction. (Scroll about halfway through the pdf of the proposal to see the collected teacher comments from various schools in the district.)

Life experience suggests to me that given the level of dissatisfaction, and the district's desire to move forward in the face of it, there's something to explain or justify this proposal other than the reasons that the district is publicly stating. But I'll be damned if I can figure out what it might be.

Does anybody know? Does anybody have an informed opinion about the controversy? If so, I'd be curious to learn more.


Total votes: 109


Could we be seeing a tacit acceptance of "The Bell Curve" research, as the distric administration's efforts hit this theoretical limit of improving overall academic performance? Society has raised the bar so high that many people simply won't be able to reach it. How is that fair?

Or, is there no sinister or covert intent? Is the '3400' proposal simply creating an institutionalized way of getting teachers to let students have a way of recovering from one bad assignment grade, when a term grade is based on a relatively narrow set of assignments?

After all, a 61 is still an 'F' ... what purpose is served by giving a grade of, say, 35 for an assignment? How can the system otherwise enforce a means of allowing students to recover from a couple of "off" days?

The '3400' proposal sounds like a poor way of fixing the real problems. Why don't they just insist on a more illustrative balance of what goes into a term grade? A 50-25-25 mix is easy to track, but does it really indicate what a student has accomplished? Why are progress reports made so frequently, when the act of doing so essentially forces a narrow set of grading elements that invariably under-reports academic progression?

I am a parent of two teens in the CHCCS. I see the problems first hand - and am frustrated by them. Since I am not an educator but an inventor and businessman, how I'd fix the problem would make sense only from my own perspectives.

Given the level of antipathy, perhaps a business-oriented solution is indeed a better course. Yet that would never 'fly' in Chapel Hill-Carrboro. We appear to be willing to sacrifice actual academic progression and measurements at the altar of political correctness.


I don't have an informed opinion, but reading the report, here's a calculated guess. It's about homework.

For instance, in the report homework can only count as 20% of the grade and not completing an assignment means a 61% not a 0. There also seems to be some attempt to standardize how much homework is being given - I would think so that one algebra teacher doesn't assign 50 problems and another 100. And then there's the agreement on mastery of a subject and what that standard is in a subject. I wonder if this might have to do with the kids who don't complete their homework but ace the exams.

The whole things rings this bell: the debate about whether the level of homework expected in the schools interferes with family life and other aspects of life (church, physical activity, nonschool cultural activities).




There is so much to learn outside of school. It seems to me that there is way too much homework and that is interfering with healthy learning. Am I just a slack parent who wants America to lose out in the global economy (or simply wants my kid to have more time to mow the lawn) or is there some validity to my contention?

to stay at Montessori Community School is that they never have homework - ever. All the way through middle school, to my knowledge. But, we'll be "of age" this Fall so we are starting the process and getting to know the people and regulations. I have to say that Scroggs staff have been INCREDIBLE, and we don't even have students there yet.

One man with courage makes a majority.

- Andrew Jackson

Why do we have grades?  My guess is so we can quantify the student's success, both in improving knowledge and in overall mastery of a subject.

By setting the bar at 61 (or any other number), what are the positives and the negatives for our children?  I think it depends on what each student expects to get out of the classroom.  For some students (and parents) this is a major victory--don't have to do homework as long as I can pass some tests!  Of course, for the majority of the students, 61 is still failing, and they want to achieve at the highest level.  The major negative to me is that it sends a message to a few students that our schools will accept mediocrity.

Bottom line--a 61, 51,35, or 0 as a floor is not going to be a major deciding factor on whether my child will be successful.  At this point, I'll support the 61 floor until it can be proven that the negatives outweigh the positives.

So long as a number on a piece of paper is the only perceived effect of performance, mediocrity is exactly what you can expect. It doesn't matter whether the floor is 61, 0, or -61.

Please read this.

Struggling students get into a huge hole when they don't complete assignments.  If the teacher gives them a 0 for a grade and don't let them make up the work, it becomes very difficult to make up the lost ground.  Students get a string of 0's find it almost impossible to pass a class.

The article is by Doug Reeves, and her is my favorite quote from him: "The consequence for not completing an assignment should be completing the assignment, not getting a 0. The consequence for failure should be respecting teacher feedback and resubmitting corrected work. "

Grades can be a measure of performance, but they should not in and of themselves be a punishment.   We really need a grading policy that emphasizes measurement of student learning rather than measurement of student work completion. 

Thanks for that link. That is a very clear explanation.

As well there are learning difficulties or disabilities that can be somewhat masked by coping mechanism kids develop in the early grades. As the work load and performance expectations change, those coping mechanisms no longer work and previously successful students can fall behind.

It must be extremely frustrating for students, parents and counselours to see diagnosis and adjustments come in too late for the student to recover in a 0 based system. 

Thank you very much; this was very interesting.

Its logic seems very compelling.  One wonders why many teachers in the district seem so opposed to the proposal, and appear to be taking it as evidence of disrespect for them.

Again, I suspect that there is more to this story than meets the eye -- that the very public nature of this dispute about grading is a proxy of sorts for some other unarticulated problem or tension.

While I am in agreement with the author of the document you provided, his or her argument is very poor as it often assumes its own conclusions. There is no mathematical reason why a failing grade should not comprise 60% of a grading scale, as a grading scale must not necessarily be comprised of equally-weighted grades.

  I think many people realize that an A represents a mastery of the knowledge at a 90-93% level and above (depending on the scale chosen by the school), not 100% as would be implied by the simple 4 pt scale discussed in the article.  It has been decided that 60% knowledge of what is taught is not enough to move on, so that is an F.  If you understand less than 60%, you will get a lower number, not to be punitive, but the intention is that it will be close to an accurate measure of your understanding of the subject.  The 100pt scale isn't all that confusing, or at least it wasn't in the past.  It's the 4 pt scale that is artificial, not the other way around.

I can see no reason why someone who does no work would get anything but a zero.  It isn't punitive- zero is a perfect description of nothing.  You hand in nothing- you get exactly what you earned- zero.

 It is easy to see why overworked teachers might not want work handed in late or made up, but as a parent (and someone who cares about the learning side of the equation), I vastly prefer letting the student make up missing work and homework to just randomly giving them a grade that has no bearing on anything.  (And yes- I realize a 0 can work the same way- but as said above- if there is nothing there, then 0 is the appropriate description of nothing, not 61.  I would prefer something to be there, but that is between the student and the teacher.) 

I'm not sure that a 4 point scale qualifies as any more or less "artificial" than a 100 point scale, but I largely agree with your points here. Absolutely, a zero is not a punitive response to a lack of effort -- it is a perfect reflection of that lack. And, as you indicate, giving students a zero today does not necessarily sentence them to academic failure tomorrow. Furthermore, I am of the opinion that a four point scale would, in practice, serve to lower the basic standards by which work is judged, but it need not do this in theory.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm largely opposed to grading in all forms. The proper outcome of education is a critically thinking mind, not a letter or number on a piece of paper. And while, in theory, grading can serve to measure a student's journey towards the goal of a critically thinking mind, we waved goodbye to that a long ago in practice.



You are correct- there's no reason why a 4 pt scale couln't be an accurate reflection of work. I should have said that taking a 100 pt scale and compressing it into 4 pts is artificial.   It's that artifical translation of the 100 pts into 4 that the author of the article finds to be inaccurate, and although I agree with him on that point, I think he's missing the purpose of the 100 pt scale in the first place. 

I think I do agree with the idea that grades should not be used as punishment, rather as a measure of learning, and that the "punishment" for not doing an assignment should be doing that.

But I would quibble with the purported "logic" of Reeves' argument about grading scales. If teachers were taking any assignment that received and F grade and marking it as a 0 in the grade book (and marking any A as 90, B as 80, etc.), then Reeves' complaints would make more sense.

But they're not. They're grading each assignment with a percentage from along the 0 to 100 spectrum, and then giving students a letter grade based on the aggregate of those percentages. To suggest that someone who correctly answered 61 out of 100 questions and someone who answered 0 out of 100 should have the same number of points added to their total seems anything but logical. Reeves makes it sound like students who score a 60 get assessed a 0, just for being below passing. They don't. They get a 60 factored into their grades.

You could argue that cutoff points for each grade should be different (i.e. that 85 should actually be an A), or you could lower the bar for passing (i.e. say that only a 40 is needed for passing). But it doesn't strike as illogical that the range of failing grades would be as large as the range of passing grades. It's not absurd to suggest that students should be able to answer more than fifty percent of questions correclty to pass a test or homework assignment.

If it bothers Reeves that the F range is so much larger than each of the others (which, when totalled, define the passing range), then why don't we just say 50-59=F, 40-49=G30-39=H,20-29=I10-19=J0-9=K, but all of these are failing grades.

As a child who made 80's on all my english tests in 10th grade but still failed the class because I did not do any homework, I can personally attest the the stupidity of grading homework.

 Homework, to me, is a way of measuring student compliance, not student knowledge. I was an inefficient, unpredictable cog in their factory farming system and I was exacted like a wobbly gear.

 The history and current model of  the Public School system is based on the needs of business. And you dance with the whore you came with. Look at the wording in the document from CHSS: "In an effort to encourage students to take courses that will enrich their academic careers". The srtudents have a career already!

For an interesting read check out "Education and the Cult of Efficiency" 

"As a child who made 80's on all my english tests in 10th grade but still failed the class because I did not do any homework, I can personally attest the the stupidity of grading homework."

Am I missing something here? Why is it stupid, given your example? If, in your workplace, you ignored half of your boss's assignments while doing the other half well (but not exceptionally well), would you be surprised if you were fired? If, at home, you ignored half of your spouse's requests and did the other half well (but not exceptionally well), would you be surprised if he or she became upset?

I do agree that homework is often an exercise in compliance as opposed to learning, but that is not some hard and fast absolute. The whole purpose of education should be to enable children for self-driven learning and analysis. Homework, correctly implemented, can serve as training for those capacities. There are many valid arguments against homework (particularly the way it is used in today's education system). However, pretending that your B's on English tests justify your failure to complete assignments is not one of them. is an education. And they made no exception about my home life. (insert some horrible stories here) They want to put us all in a neat plastic box because they are lazy and beaten down by the system. My problem is not so much with homework, but the silly blanket policy they lay over every child.

I have a degree in Secondary Education and I taught for three years in the public schools. I left because the whole operation is silly.

It is MY job to teach the children. It is not THEIR job to learn. Do you understand the significance of that? If a child does not learn what they are individually able to learn that is MY problem. Because that is MY job.

And you think that you can "enable children for self-driven learning" by forcing them to do homework? HAH! Yes, that works for the weaker, beaten down students, but what about the others?

If you feel the public school system can be patched you are mistaken. A truth many teachers say in the lounge, but never in public.

 Oh, and if my spouse was upset because I did not do some chores I would say she is asleep and needs to be awakened. And if she did not ask me why I did not do the chores I would get a divorce.


The thing that stikes me most about the various plans to improve/help low performing students is that none of these plans requires commitment from the targeted students (or their parents).   For example, how about agreeing to a contract that contains a promise to spend X hrs per evening on school work.  I have two kids in the district school; one in middle school & one in high school.  They both tell me that there are groups of kids that don't take school seriously, at that never have their homework, sleep or otherwise don't pay attention in class, kids that fail most of the tests.  Sadly, until these kids attitudes change no plan to better  student performance will ever work.

Actually, I think you are mistaken.  I can think of several examples of ways that contracts are used with struggling students. Beginning in elementary school, it's a very common intervention strategy to create a "contract" with expectations for student performance and commitment.  Parents often sign the contracts as well.

But compliance with such contracts varies greatly, and really what can the school district do to mandate compliance?  Certainly there's no way to write a meaningful policy that mandates student compliance.

On the other hand, an employer can expect greater compliance from its employees.  Although engaging and motivating some students is a significant challenge, we also know a lot about the best strategies for doing so. Why not expect teachers to use those strategies?  

The grading policy could be one piece in a set of strategies that make it clear what the district expects teacher to do in order to promote meaningful student engagement. 

I agree that compliance varies greatly, but where in the grading system proposal is there any statement of the responsibilities of the students & their parents for improvement ?  I think explicit benchmarks for the students to meet are a sine qua non for any plan attempting to  raise performance to succeed.  I also disagree that it's impossible to write meaningful policy mandating student performance.  For instance, requiring a log or diary from struggling students of time spent on school work is one way to gauge effort.  If students can't or won't comply with such a simple requirement, then you have to ask the question of how commited are those students to their own success.  Not eveyone makes the grade; some will fail in any system.  The question is what is an acceptable failure rate.

I've thought about this comment a couple of times as the day has gone on.  To be honest, it really made me angry.  And it didn't make it any easier to take that it came from an anonymous poster.

Here's my question to you: What % of your children are you willing to let fail in school?  If you're not a parent, what's an acceptable failure rate for children in your extended family?

Personally, I don't want any of my children to fail. And as a professional, I don't want any of the kids I work with to fail. And I don't want their teachers or their school system to allow them to fail as part of an acceptable failure rate.

It's clear that you feel the burden of failure should fall on the students. My experience is that the system contributes a great deal to who succeeds and who doesn't.  If you want to learn more about what I see, feel free to contact me but I'll have to know who you are. 

It sounds to me like the intent of this policy is to ensure consistent grading/assessment across multiple sections of the same course. That's an admirable goal, but it is also another encroachment on teacher autonomy. If there are no zeros and all work can be made up, that increases the workload for teachers. And while teachers are paid better in CHCCS than most other districts, they still work long hours at an overall lower hourly wage than other professionals.

Teachers are parents, spouses, friends--they have lives. But with each new policy, their personal lives are further dominated by their job. They can simply shift their time allocations to grading rather than lesson planning. But if we want creative teachers who strive to make learning fun and challenging, this policy runs counter to that goal.

Everyone wants to see children succeed, but the time to establish the habits that undergird this policy is in middle school--where children and their parents take responsibility for homework being completed to the best of each child's ability. Placing this additional work burden on high school teachers for a failure of behavioral change in the early years is patently unfair IMHO.

Restricting the weight of homework is also problematic. Tests are a single, point-in-time glimpse of student mastery of a particular topic. Tests scores are also strongly influenced by cramming. Some student cram well and others don't. Homework is a much better reflection of subject mastery. However, parents and older sibling can (and should) help with homework, but the form of help, from guidance/hints to actual completion, is variable. Tests are completed in a controlled environment and thus perceived by some as more accurate measures of learning.

Interesting article in the Atlantic Monthly about local control/school boards. I like local control, but this proposed grading policy is a good example of how school boards over reach:

grades are scoreboard:

win or go home.

yes, sometimes the best team doesn't win.

the highest scorer is on the losing team.

on and get it.

bottom line: someone/somewhere is looking at 845 students' grades.

draw a line in the sand. right here. sorry. next.



So much of this is semantics, driven by the proposal of giving a 61 for a zero, perceived by many as a reward for doing nothing.  Yet this is really driven by a system where 0 through 59 (or 0 through 69 in some school systems that require a 70 to pass) are all failure.

 A 0 to 50 system, where 0 to 9 is F, 10-19 D, 20-29C, 30-39 B, 40-50 A would eliminate the disproportionality of a zero. (This could also be zero to 5, same thing). Then a student who does not do homework still gets a zero, but it does not have the same effect as now when it is impossible to dig out from a hole, but at the same time eliminating the perception that failure is somehow rewarded.

Remind me again why "the disproportionality of a zero" should be eliminated? Why is it a core assumption of so many here that an "F" should represent a same-sized range of merit as does an "A"?

why should the range of F occupy 60 or 70% of the spectrum?  If someone fails, they should fail. But a system where two missed homework assignments averaged with an 80 on an exam can leave the average as an F is ludicrous. I do NOT favor giving a 61 for a missed or ignored assignment, I think the system should not be set up to AMPLIFY missing an assignment.
Surely you jest!  Each high school class consists of many homework assignments and quite a few class quizzes + tests & exams.  The situation you paint of just a missed assignment or two does not exist.  The point of the "zero equals sixty-one" policy is to improve minority scores, by a nice piece of legerdemain. 

The range of F might occupy 60 or 70% of the spectrum if 60 or 70% of the possible submissions could reasonably be considered failing. And I think that's a reasonable situation in most cases, though certainly not in all.

Given the hypothetical situation you described, I might certainly agree with you in that case. I'm not suggesting that the system should be setup so that competent students fail. However, I'm not seeing a lot of evidence that competent students are failing. In reality, the opposite seems to be true.


Basic issues of equity and fairness in assessment theory stipulate that grading ranges should be equal. Why should someone be punished more than they are rewarded? Strange world you live in if that's what you really believe.

What "basic issues of equity and fairness in assessment theory" are you referring to? If you take your car into a mechanic with two broken axles, and he or she correctly fixes one of them while ignoring the other one, do "basic issues of equity and fairness in assessment theory" demand that you be pleased with his or her work?

I'm not suggesting that people should be punished more than they are rewarded or vice versa. I'm suggesting that the standards we apply to learning extend from the goals we have set for learning. It might very well be that in many cases a less failure-heavy scale should be used. But, in most situations, I see many more possible opportunities for failure than I do for mastery.

Could we please stop comparing students and mechanics and doctors?

If I want my spine repaired, I do not  call my mechanic.

If I want my timing belt replaced, I do not call my accountant.

If I want my taxes done, I do not call my neurosurgeon. 

People in professions are stating - I excel at this. Pay me to do it. I will take care of this thing (at which you may not excel.)  

Students are people who are learning. They need to discover where they excel and where they do not.  Since we do not have a system where students are allowed to track at 15 in a direction at which they excel, their grades in every subject determine whether (and how) they can continue their educations in any subject. 

I do not fire my surgeon for not writing me a paper on Petrarchian sonnets. 




I really don't think that if I did my job 30% or even 75% correctly that I would still have a job. If anything, D's and C's need to be further penalized. Do you want a doctor to get your diagnosis right 61% of the time? Your mechanic to fix your car correctly 61% of the time? What about a restaurant getting your order right 61% of the time?

 I'm sorry, but the question shouldn't be how to not fail kids. The question should be how to teach them. If they don't know the material they don't know the material. High school degrees are almost worthless as it is, so why water it down even more?

 All I know is that when I have taught -- granted it was at the college level -- I stressed homework and attendance a lot. Not because you need to do every assignment or go to every class, but simply because no matter what kind of wunderkind you are, if you don't show up to work or do what you're being paid to do, then you're about to start collecting unemployment.

Gerry's point, which is a good one that I had not considered, was a mathematical one. If you use a 100 point scale and everything between 0 and and 61 is failing that "range" is larger than the pass range. So if there are 4 assignments and a kid gets a 0 on one, she has to get 100 on the other 3 in order to get a C in the course. That 0 carries a stronger weight in her overall assessment than the other 3 assignments. The C doesn't accurately reflect her learning.

"Teachers will understand and be able to articulate why the grades they assign are rational, justified, and fair, acknowledging that such grades reflect their preferences and judgments. Teachers will be able to recognize and to avoid faulty grading procedures such as using grades as punishment. They will be able to evaluate and to modify their grading procedures in order to improve the validity of the interpretations made from them about students' attainments. " (from the Standards for Teacher Competence in Educational Assessment of Students)

No, kids are not cars. Many kids, however, become mechanics or doctors or writers or great leaders. And I suspect that your tolerance for failure relative to your car, body, entertainment and politicians may not follow the tolerance for failure that you are detailing here.

I understand the "mathematical point", though a 100 point grading scale can be justified mathematically as well. There is no absolutely correct way to grade -- the correct way to grade is a function of what you're measuring. I absolutely agree that simply measuring compliance is not necessarily conducive to a good learning environment. Assigning a zero to a single homework assignment and giving it equal weight to three tests in which a student excels is not wise grading. But if a student has 4 tests, gets 100's on 3 and absolutely nothing correct on one, that student might very well deserve a "C" grade for the course in some situations, just as a doctor who performs four surgeries on you and completely botches the fourth deserves something less than a stellar review.

Your biggest fallacy is that kids can fail. Your attachment to assessing children on vague concepts is chilling.

It is not a fallacy that a child can fail. Children can and do fail all the time. That's not necessarily even a bad thing as failure, to some extent, is part of the learning process.

Nowhere am I suggesting that children should be assessed on "vague concepts". That is a baseless statement that you've simply inserted for effect, and it adds nothing to the discussion at hand.

If this was a med school surgery class I would agree with failing the student if one of the four patients taken home died.

LOL...I suspect we could all agree with that. And I'm not pretending that 9th grade English is equivalent to brain surgery. It's certainly not. However, I dislike some of the justifications I'm hearing for arbitrary grading floors or four point scales, even though I largely agree with the original conclusions in support of using more evenly distributed grading scales.

I saw some recent letters to the editor from teachers that seemed to indicate that this wa s a Neil Pedersen move done without consulting the teachers.

Two key related questions in my mind are --- What is a grade suppose to measure?  Why do we give students grades?  Until we as a community agree on these answers, this discussion will be confusing to me.  It may be that grades in different types of courses have different purposes. 

It has been a long time since I have taught and I taught on a different level but it seems to me that what a grade should measure is the mastery of a subject or a skill, not the compliance of the student to a set of rules that are not in themselves related to this goal.  (There may be other reasons for grades.) If that is what a grade is suppose to do than any way a student demonstrates the accomplishment of this goal should be acceptable.  I have always felt both as a student and a teacher that a well designed, comprehensive final exam was one key to grading.  I don’t think a student should receive a lower grade than they achieve on the final exam.  I think grades on homework should only be used to raise the grades of students that clearly demonstrate through homework or intermediate exams that they know the subject better than they demonstrated on the final.  This approach will probably not work for all subject matter.  I have been involved in science and math.  It may be that designing a single grading system for all courses and all students is not appropriate and teachers need some flexibility.

I have always found it disturbing that compliance seems to be such an important part of student evaluations.  It seems that in some circumstances it provides a disincentive to student creativity and I hope that is not a goal of the grading system.  If compliance makes it easier for teachers then perhaps we can find a different way to reward it.

Why haven't we heard an explanation about why this went forward without teacher involvement?
If you read the report it had a section on teacher concerns - including a list of points that still needed to be addressed and there was also the school board meeting this week (for the public - including teachers). The proposals are in the process of being hammered out and not a done deal yet.

A few teachers wrote letters saying the process did not adequately get their input.


Sorry, I wasn't trying to be snarky. I think it's great that teachers who weren't part of the process are expressing their concerns. And letters to the editor draw everyone's attention to what is happening.

But *I* wasn't part of the process isn't *no teachers* were part of this process.

EDIT: In emailing the school board to say what I liked from the report, I received an email back from one board member saying that some teachers in the schools have been implementing these policies in their classrooms already and find them successful.




Seems the "mastery" idea is getting lost in all the discussion about where to set the failing point. Gerry's point about one 0  and three 100's averaging out to C was a good one - the system isn't very accurate about what a kid knows.

But I thought the point of a mastery approach is that no one should be forced to accept a 0. They should be able to go back, study some more and then be reevaluated  until they reach the grade they want.

However, setting up that system of relearning and retesting is an extra burden on teachers. Should teachers have to spend their time reteaching, retesting, regrading for someone who has been goofing off? 

Also, if a kid gets a 61 for doing no work, does he have any incentive to go back and master what he missed?

Tomorrow night the school board will look again at the grading policy. As a teacher at CHHS, I support the goal to create a policy that reduces the chance of a student giving up because of a few bad grades. I also believe that grades should not be the prime motivating factor for learning and that students need to learn responsibility. (Most if not all teachers already have in their classroom grading policies procedures to give students 2nd, 3rd and 4th chances.We also believe that giving consequences for late work and no work does teach something about responsibility) I just reread every post on this topic and would like to add my own reactions. First I don't know of any high school teacher who was involved in developing the proposed policy. I even serve on the district vertical science committee and the policy was not mentioned to us.  A better proposal would have been developed if teacher imput was collected before the policy was written. The policy does not attempt to control the amount of homework only its value. (This so hard to control: we have some students who work full time and other students taking 6 AP courses.) On Saturday I went to CHHS's graduation. (Contrary to the recent letter writer, I enjoyed clapping for the students and felt the overall behavior much better than years ago.) Many students strugle with tests and it is their homework grade that helps them receive a passing grade. It would be interesting to know how many seniors would not have had graduated if homework for them counted less than 20% of their grade. Of course, the policy doesn't spell out what is homework. For example if a student does a lab in class but finishes the lab report at home is that a homework grade or a lab grade? Does a research paper partially done at school and the rest completed at home count in the 20% maximum for homework? Should all subjects and should all levels of a subject have the same grading policy? Should this micromanagement be done at the school board level? Teachers have been told that the minimum grade of 61 is not just for homework but for all graded work including tests. Should a test grade equal the percent correct or should it be curved to the infamous bell curve or should the complicated formula used on the state end of course and end of grade exams be used? Thanks to the No Child Left Behind Act in the not too distant future 100% of our students will be proficient (passing). How will we reach that goal?  Right now high school math proficiency is measured by the Algebra I end of course test. Many students now take Algebra in 7th or 8th grade! The district and high schools also have policies related to cheating and absences related to grades: Currently if you get caught cheating you receive a 0.  If you skip class when a test was given you don't get to make it up. Should those students receive a mimimum grade instead? On the other hand, I drop the lowest grade in my nineweeks before I calculate final grades. Other teachers for homework assignments just record if the assignment was turned in but don't grade for accuracy. Is this right? Should the school board or central office micromanage these decisions? Many teachers including myself give up our lunch time to work with students. The last few years I've been lucky to also have UNC and other volunteers work with my students. Most students do their homework. Some students even if they have a volunteer in the classroom during class time helping them do their homework end up doing nothing. Should they receive a 61?  Bottom line: the homework policy as written doesn't make sense and I hope the board goes back to the drawing board. Hope you enjoyed the lod post



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