Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Image

School District Drops 'D' Grades 617

Posted by samzenpus
from the pass-fail-education dept.
Students in one New Jersey school district will no longer be able to squeak by in class after the Morris County School Board approved dropping the D grade. Beginning in the fall students who don't get a C or higher will get an F on their report card. "I'm tired of kids coming to school and not learning and getting credit for it," said Superintendent Larrie Reynolds in a Daily Record report.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

School District Drops 'D' Grades

Comments Filter:
  • How about... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sorrowsjudge (1181865) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:05AM (#33057288)
    How about just not giving credit for D's? Am I missing something here?
    • Re:How about... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fyrewulff (702920) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:07AM (#33057320)

      But that would make too much sense!

      I hate it when people make scales to grade something on, and then never use the damn entirety of the scale. See also game sites that have a 1-10 rating for a game but never really use anything below 7.

      • Re:How about... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jeffmeden (135043) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:19AM (#33057506) Homepage Journal

        But that would make too much sense!

        I hate it when people make scales to grade something on, and then never use the damn entirety of the scale. See also game sites that have a 1-10 rating for a game but never really use anything below 7.

        I like to think of the 1-6 on that scale as serving the same purpose as the seatbelt. Sure, almost every car trip has no use for the seatbelt, but you are most likely (and rightly so) using it anyway. Should you ever see a 6 or below, being able to comprehend how much it sucks *just might save your life*.

        • Re:How about... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by IICV (652597) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @12:12PM (#33058336)

          Well also, to be fair, most modern games are "okay but bland" at worst (aka a 7, which is funnily enough usually the equivalent of about a C- or D+). The GP is complaining because they don't calibrate the 1-10 scale against other games; they calibrate it against some absolute enjoyment scale.

          For instance, I disliked GTA 4, but I would have still given it a 7 - it wasn't bad, it just wasn't especially good. When a studio pours millions of dollars into a game, you're guaranteed get something that's at least okay.

      • Re:How about... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Luckyo (1726890) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:38AM (#33057792)

        From the original article:

        "In todays world, youve either got it, or you dont, Kentucky principal Steve Frommeyer said. Theres no opportunity to just be OK. "

        People with this line of thought who are teaching anything below university level (i.e. before children/teens have decided what they want to do with their lives) need to get fired yesterday, and be permanently banned from any teaching position. They destroy lives, literally, by forcing children to be "either great or dead".
        We no longer live in the caves, and most learning issues, especially at age that young are not "excel or die". People who disagree are in the wrong profession.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by atamido (1020905)

          This is hardly an either/or situation. If a C- correlates to knowing 70% of the material, then that is the bare minimum a student must know to pass a course. This isn't requiring that you need to know 100% of everything that is taught. Heck, it's only about 2/3 of what is taught, which is really pretty pathetic.

          If the student has a learning disability and is unable to learn 70% of the material, then that doesn't mean that they should just get credit. It means that they shouldn't be in the class, or need

          • by NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @03:30PM (#33061322)
            Ok, I can't say how this works in other countries since I'm from the US.(And I'll probably get marked as a troll by some stupid moderator. Oh well, the benefits of having Karma to burn.) That being said there's nothing "magical" about 70%. I mean I understand how you go to school for over 12 years and they always use 70% so you automatically assume that "Oh of course 70% is a C" and that no other number can be a C. The most obvious example of this not being true is the SAT. Average is 500 out of 800 which is 62.5%. What this means is that the person writing the test can make it harder or easier to get alot of points even if they are testing on the entire subject area. (And theoretically any question is "answerable.") They can move the average up or down as they see fit by including more or fewer tricky questions while still testing in the target field. The reason to do this is that if you have a bunch of grades all pinned up at 95%+ you basically can't tell which student is really better than another. You also can see what a student doesn't know. (I mean you could just make the test really easy and then everybody gets 100% ) Think of it this way. If I tell you it's 30 outside is it hot? What you should say to me is you can't tell since you don't have a scale to determine what that 30 actually means. If I asked is it hot when it's 30C you'd know yes it is and 30F is cold. Without some scale to tell you what a number means you can't tell. The same is true for percentages in education. Without a scale to help you interpret what 70% means you can't tell if that's a good or shitty score. (The professor could have made the test such that only a great student could get above 50%. Note, yes I've had courses like that. I had a physics course where the prof made it so hard 30% was passing which shows that yes a professor can put average anywhere he likes.)
        • Re:How about... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by bonch (38532) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @04:08PM (#33061780)

          I disagree. Kids' egos have been so coddled, from the removal of losing teams in sports games to passing everyone in a class so nobody feels bad for themselves, that they grow up with an unwarranted sense of entitlement and accomplishment. We have a lot of selfish, spoiled people today because of this crap, and the rest of us who actually work for things are supporting everyone else to a greater degree than ever before.

          The principal's statement made sense to me--he's saying you can't just skate by in the real world but must put in effort. It's not hard to pass elementary school. At that level, it's all about basic effort. Flunking a kid who would have skated by is doing him or her a service, failing them so they can retake the course or retry the test.

          Nobody's lives are being destroyed ("literally") by requiring them to pass in school. Your statement about living in caves makes no sense, because we had to be even less lazy back then, learning how to hunt and build shelters or starve to death. Your precious self-esteem mattered little.

      • by asliarun (636603) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:46AM (#33057952)

        I hate it when people make scales to grade something on, and then never use the damn entirety of the scale.

        That, good sir, is because this scale can only be played in dropped D.

      • Re:How about... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by natehoy (1608657) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @12:53PM (#33058934) Journal

        I hate it when people make scales to grade something on, and then never use the damn entirety of the scale.

        I don't think you understand the "scale" in use here. The scale is of passing grades, and it was and is used in its entirety. They've simply truncated off the bit of the scale that used to mean "passing" and now means "failing", because "failing" grades don't have a place on the scale at that school any more.

        For the alphabetically-challenged, "F" is not "the letter after D" - that would be the letter "E".

        "F" is an abbreviation meaning "Fail". It means "you are not within the scale of passing grades, you are below it, and you failed. No cookie!"

        In programming, "F" would be equivalent to null.

        Most importantly, the letters are only an abbreviation for the actual percentages, probably so they fit on a report card more easily and with less writing on the teacher's part. The actual percentages are really what count, and I assure you they still go from 0% to 100% as per standard mathematical principles.

    • Re:How about... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by quatin (1589389) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:09AM (#33057352)

      Yes you are. That's what this article is about. They are no longer giving credit for Ds. Thereby removing Ds from the grading system. If Ds don't give credit, then a D = F.

      Logically, you would remove F and give failing student Ds so you have A, B, C and D, but whatever floats your boat.

      • Re:How about... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:11AM (#33057388) Homepage

        Logically, you would remove F and give failing student Ds so you have A, B, C and D, but whatever floats your boat.

        Perhaps the grades could be "Excellent", "Awesome", "Doing Really Very Well" and "Not Left Behind", so as to comply with government standards for education.

        • by cayenne8 (626475) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:22AM (#33057552) Homepage Journal
          Is this all going to make any difference at all anyway?

          I mean, from what I understand, schools just plain do not hold anyone back because they fail...they just continue to promote them on to the next grade regardless of their level of learning the material.

          Can't hurt Junior's self esteem you know...

          • by Flea of Pain (1577213) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:35AM (#33057744)

            Generally this is only true for early and middle years. Which is great when you get a student in Grade 9 who can't read. Believe me, kids that age are cruel...it would have been better to fail them and have them on an even playing field with their peers.

          • by ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @12:16PM (#33058398)

            I mean, from what I understand, schools just plain do not hold anyone back because they fail...they just continue to promote them on to the next grade regardless of their level of learning the material.

            Depends on the school district, around here they can only hold them back once, then they have to advance them. It isn't about self esteem, not entirely anyway, if the kids don't do well (don't pass), the state cuts funding and fucks it up for everyone. Fuck up too much, and the school has to close, overloading the other schools and the slow downward spiral continues. Teacher salaries are also based on standardized test scores; which is extra fun if you teach special needs kids who either don't take them or cannot do that well. The state of affairs in the public school system here is beyond reckoning, and every "attempt" to fix it just seems to make it worse.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @12:20PM (#33058472)
            Just as a counter point, three years ago I was shocked when half of my daughter's kindergarten class was held back. What they did was kindergarten was only half a day, so the students did half a day of kindergarten and half of first grade. Then, when they reach grade level (about half of those held back by mid year) they had them do half a day of first grade and half of special instruction. They kept it that way for most of the students, but some who got far enough above grade level were permitted to go to regular first grade (the idea being, they assumed if they just took them to grade level and put them back into class that most would start falling behind again, so they kept the extra attention for awhile longer). In the case of my daughter they claimed she was below grade level in reading only (and several above in math and science) and put her in an extra reading class. Both my sisters (one an elementary school teacher with endorsements for special ed and deaf/hard hearing; the other a child psychologist) tested my daughter as being right about grade level possibly slightly higher. I figured extra reading instruction wasn't going to hurt, so I didn't fight it although I debated as I was worried about my daughter's self-esteem. I think some schools are more than willing to fail students. Now this probably was an exception as I rented an apartment in an inexpensive part of decent size city. Despite being in the major city, the area had been a separate town that got annexed, so the school district was that of a fairly affluent suburb. Thus we were viewed as the poor, trouble neighborhoods and they felt obligated to ensure the children received free breakfast and lunch and a decent education. It worked out well as rent was only $500 for a two bedroom apartment or $575 for three and you get a lot of young families in the neighborhoods so crime wasn't a problem (it helped that three neighboring townships happily patroled so as to prevent crime from going over into their towns). It ended up being mostly immigrants who valued education and some Americans who just were young, had one parent get laid off, were single parent families (like me) etc. So maybe not typical, but they are certainly out there.
        • Better yet, why not pass or fail? Or to be touchy feely, maybe "meets standard", "exceeds standard" or "doesn't meet standard"?

      • Re:How about... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by sorrowsjudge (1181865) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:12AM (#33057396)
        I don't think that removing Ds from the scale is going to do anything. If they don't want to give credit for a D, then don't! Giving a bit of granularity to the system, saying "you almost passed, try a bit harder" is a lot different than "you were nowhere near passing. Why don't you try something else instead?"
        • Remove D, by itself, wouldn't do anything. That's not what they are doing though. They are not letting anyone who gets 69% and lower to pass. Hence, they now have two redundant grades, so they are eliminating one of them. Given that everyone associates F with Fail, it makes sense to get rid of D.

          Not sure why this is as confusing as it is. My guess would be that a few people got 'D's in their english classes.

          • Re:How about... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by sorrowsjudge (1181865) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:19AM (#33057502)
            I disagree that D is redundant. Letting little Johnny and his parents know that he needs to try a little harder to pass the class (receiving a D) is different enough than letting Johnny and his parents that he failed hard to warrant having the two separate failing grades.
            • Little johnny ( and his parents ) can look at the percentage and figure it out then.

              Or maybe, just maybe, seeing a big red F on a report card might motivate his parents to contact the teacher and find out why their child is failing..maybe encouraging them to actually get involved in the child's education.

              Note: The actual percentage of children who are trying and still fail is ridiculously low. As in, you won't find a single one in your average highschool. If it takes an unqualified F to get child/parents

              • Re:How about... (Score:5, Informative)

                by hoggoth (414195) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:53AM (#33058080) Journal

                I taught some classes for the Computer Science department at a local university. Initially I was worried that it would be a difficult process to decide who passes and who fails at the lower end of the class. But as it turned out there was never any difficulty. Most students came to class, tried their best, and got A's, B's, and some that had difficulty with the subject got C's. The others rarely showed up, never handed in any projects, and basically signed their names on tests.
                There weren't any in the middle.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                Little johnny ( and his parents ) can look at the percentage and figure it out then.

                I get the feeling that if little Johnny could figure out percentages then he wouldn't be in this predicament in the first place.

            • If you get a D or F, you are equally worthless. If you're not making a C, you need to work harder. B was the lower bound when I was growing up. If you're failing, do you really need to know how badly you're failing? Then call up the teacher and get your granularity.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by eln (21727)
            The GP does have a good point though. A D, even if it's a failing grade, means "you didn't pass, but you came close. Just try a little harder and you can pass next time," whereas an F says "You weren't even close to passing. You really need to radically rethink your study strategy and/or go into a different field."

            Many colleges don't give credit for some courses, especially courses in your major, if you get a D, but they still maintain the D grade.

            There's also the fact that in a standard GPA calcul
            • The GP does have a good point though. A D, even if it's a failing grade, means "you didn't pass, but you came close. Just try a little harder and you can pass next time," whereas an F says "You weren't even close to passing. You really need to radically rethink your study strategy and/or go into a different field."

              I don't recall ever taking too many classes where I didn't know roughly how well I was doing long before the end of the class. Doesn't a student typically already know if they were close or not to passing? The test you got back with a 54 or the homework you handed in for a 62 or the quiz you got an 83 on all gave pretty exacting performance metrics. Most classes I took in middle school and higher even had introductory handouts on the weighting of the different types of assignments/tests so that I could c

        • Given that virtually every system(if not on the printed card, just by asking the teacher) exposes the real numerical average, I don't really see this as an issue.

          Unless both you and your teacher are terminally out to lunch, you'll know what your numbers are. Good students typically keep an eye on them if they are in dangerous territory, and good teachers spend a lot of time hounding bad students about pulling their numbers up a bit.

          There is also the fact that, at all but the most control-freaky instit
    • If you're not going to get credit for a D, what's the difference between a D and an F?

      As it stands now, however, the only way to really get a D, and in many cases a C, in most schools is to fail to put in any effort. B+ is the new C, and C is the new D. Dropping the D grade only ensures that the people who weren't trying don't get free credit, for now. Soon enough, however, parents will pressure teachers to give their kids C's instead of the failing grade that they deserve and the scale will move again. Rig

    • Re:How about... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ecuador (740021) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:55AM (#33058104) Homepage

      Or they could make it a bit harder to get a D... Simply you get a passing grade if you deserve to pass...

      Oblig:

      Nigel Tufnel: The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and...
      Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?
      Nigel Tufnel: Exactly.
      Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it's louder? Is it any louder?
      Nigel Tufnel: Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?
      Marty DiBergi: I don't know.
      Nigel Tufnel: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
      Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven.
      Nigel Tufnel: Eleven. Exactly. One louder.
      Marty DiBergi: Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?
      Nigel Tufnel: [pause] These go to eleven.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      How about just not giving credit for D's? Am I missing something here?

      When I was teaching, I only used Ds for mid-term grades, to let students know that they were in danger of failing. I didn't think it was right to give someone a failing grade when the semester wasn't over yet, but I never gave a D as a final grade. If their work wasn't good enough for a C, it wasn't good enough to pass. So it was "D" for "Danger".

      I would definitely give Ds on papers or tests, though, in cases where students made some e

    • Re:How about... (Score:5, Informative)

      by HereIAmJH (1319621) <HereIAmJH@@@hdtrvs...org> on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @01:37PM (#33059694)

      How about just not giving credit for D's?

      Then next it will be C's. How about we just jump to the end and go pass/fail.

      The problem isn't that students are getting D's. The problem is grade inflation where everyone needs to get an A or they're a loser, and school districts that can't bring themselves to actually fail a student so they give them a D and move the cattle along.

      Once upon a time, C didn't mean mediocre, it meant average. A's and B's were for students that went above and beyond the school's expectations. A D was a signal that parents/teachers needed to invest some time helping that child master a given subject.

      When I was in public school the district used the ESMIF grading scale.

      E - excellent
      S - superior
      M - medium or average
      I - inferior
      F - failure

      Now suppose that any place you performed below average you were considered a failure.

      This is all sleight of hand to get the public to look at a new shiny thing while districts and communities continue to fail the next generation of children.

      There is some hope though. Some school districts are experimenting with going with subject master rather than grade advancement. Here is what the Kansas City Mo school district is trying to turn around a dying educational program. [usatoday.com]

      And here is a little more in-depth presentation. Mastery Learning [valdosta.edu]

      I would take it one step further, I would say there is only 1 passing grade. You have either mastered the subject or you have not.

      The approach is a simple concept. If a student quickly masters a subject they can take a test and move on. If they haven't, then the teacher provides more instruction and study material until the student masters the topic. It would lead to schools allocating resources more efficiently to students; more to those that need them and less to those that do not. While that might not seem fair to parents who have 'smart kids', you have to realize that your child is going to have subjects where they excel and subjects where they struggle.

      And if you must have some my kid is smarter than yours measurement, it can be the time it takes to master all the required subjects or the number of additional subjects mastered before graduation.

  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sconeu (64226) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:05AM (#33057292) Homepage Journal

    If done the way TFS says, it's a good thing.

    The problem is that teachers don't want to fail students, so the D students will get Cs instead of Fs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ephemeriis (315124)

      If done the way TFS says, it's a good thing.

      The problem is that teachers don't want to fail students, so the D students will get Cs instead of Fs.

      Yup.

      Frankly, I'm surprised folks are getting D's and F's in the first place. It seems like you'd have to actually try to get grades that low these days.

    • by Hnice (60994)

      I worked at a school that did exactly this, and you're right, the pressure was still there to pass kids.

      Two things made this somewhat successful:

      1. The 'marginal' range did move up. So while maybe you're allowing just as many close-but-not-quites to get C's as you would have with D's, the bar for 'marginal' was definitely higher.

      2. The administration was behind it. They were very clear: if a kid should not get credit, give them an F.

      So, like i said, some success. More than none.

    • by Andy Dodd (701)

      That's my worry. The logic here makes sense, as long as they don't "grade inflate" the former D students up to C.

      The problem is, they likely will do that.

  • by Petersko (564140) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:05AM (#33057296)
    A couple of substandard students with sue-happy parents will take care of that in a hurry.
  • I like it! (Score:2, Insightful)

    With the crazy rash of pansying up our youth over the last few decades, I welcome a little ass-kicking.

    • Yeah, it's not like they had D's when you were young. Kids these days with their D's and their getting driver's licenses at 16. We had it so much tougher.
  • They did this while I was in high school ten years ago.

  • feh. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:07AM (#33057332) Homepage

    "We suck at educating our kids, so we'll just change the standards!"

    Isn't that a bit like covering up a gaping chest wound with a shirt and pretending like nothing is wrong?

    • by nschubach (922175)

      The way I understand the change, it's like opening the gaping wound more so that a medic can get in there to fix that artery.

    • Re:feh. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DurendalMac (736637) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:14AM (#33057446)
      Sometimes the best teacher in the world can't get a stubborn little jackass to learn anything. You want to point the finger? Point it at the parents who do nothing to help or encourage their kids and expect the schools to make up for the daily 4+ hours of TV and gaming that the kids get. Crappy schools need to get fixed, sure, but I'd say that crappy parents are a far bigger problem. They expect the schools to do everything so they don't have to lift a finger.
      • Re:feh. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:22AM (#33057556) Homepage

        Considering my wife is a 3rd grade special ed teacher, I assure you that I know what you're talking about :-) Still, I don't blame teachers so much as the curriculum. Public schooling in this country is designed to teach kids how to pass a standardized test, not to expand their knowledge.

        Regardless of crappy teachers, crappy parents, or crappy students, you can't expect people to learn if you are training them to pass a test.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MoneyManJM (860948)
      At my wife's school in Maryland they decided that it was too hard for students to recover from a uncompleted assignment so they made the lowest grade you could get a 50% and now kids do less work because they can do fewer assignments and still just barely scrape by.
  • by Samalie (1016193) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:08AM (#33057346)

    Soon enough it is going to be Pass/Fail only.

    Why bother with grades at all...either you suck, or you don't. THats at least what these educators seem to be getting to.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      You could always just pass them for even showing up [capitalismmagazine.com].
    • Actually, I don't understand the grading scale at all.

      it seems like it's just a way for people to justify their own anal retentiveness. Either you understand the material and you should move on in your education or you don't. GPAs have done a coup d'grace on civility in higher academia with everyone competing to be top of the class.

    • To be less cynical, either you meet a standard or you don't. I actually think that's a pretty good system, since that's what NCLB was designed to measure.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dcollins (135727)

      "THats [sic] at least what these educators seem to be getting to."

      I'll say it again: School systems have two camps, (1) teachers, (2) administrators, and those camps are generally in opposition.

      Note that this particular change comes from Superintendent Larrie Reynolds ("I'm tired of kids coming to school and not learning and getting credit for it") -- someone who is not actually an educator (teacher).

  • Average (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gatzby3jr (809590)

    I always thought 'C' was supposed to represent an average grade. I think one of the biggest problems today is that everyone is expected to get a B or above, so teachers are more pressured to give B's or above. Now people are getting through class at a B average, when they haven't done anything above average at all.

    Now, with this, it seems as if the D students will get bumped to C's, C's to B's, and B's to A (well, maybe not so drastic on the upper portion).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nschubach (922175)

      if you are below average, why not fail the student and make them redo the work until they become at least average?

      • by dgatwood (11270)

        Two reasons:

        1. Not all classes are of equal importance. Being more lenient for courses outside your major (Ds) encourages people to get a broader education by punishing students less for taking non-intro classes outside the major. When it comes to turning out students that are well rounded and prepared to succeed in the workplace, that's a good thing.

        2. Failing people who aren't at average level just means that half your students will fail, assuming a Gaussian distribution. That seems a little extrem

    • by HTH NE1 (675604)

      "Wouldn't that make a B be average?"

      "Uh, I'd have to ask my superintendent."

      "Just give me my kid's report card."

      "There you go. Would you like fries with that?"

      "Why would I want fries with a report card?"

      "Uh, I'd have to ask my superintendent." ...

      "Great, Dad, you picked up my report card! Didn't you get any fries?"

  • Average (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ComputerGeek01 (1182793) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:11AM (#33057382)
    I never understood this, if a student is substandard then they are substandard. If this superintendent knew what the definition of average was he would realise that, by definition, some students HAVE to fall below a 'C' mark. Teaching everybody to a minimum standard is a very noble cause but it isn't possible for everyone you teach to live up to that standard; so instead we end up with these bitter drop-outs who are essentially labled as unemployable just because they can't tell you what the capital of Nebraska is.
    • Re:Average (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Antisyzygy (1495469) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:16AM (#33057464)
      I wish they would implement more trade schools. It would be nice to move people that fail at academic pursuits into a high school designed to teach them a marketable trade like being a mechanic or car. Just because someone doesnt do well in math, science, english and/or social studies doesn't mean they don't have some other talent that would benefit society.
      • Re:Average (Score:4, Funny)

        by Antisyzygy (1495469) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:17AM (#33057476)
        ... or carpenter ...
        • by sedmonds (94908)

          Damn. You had my hopes up for an exciting career as a car.

          Maybe I could learn to be a garden* instead.

          * gardener

      • It would be nice to move people that fail at academic pursuits into a high school designed to teach them a marketable trade like being a ... car.

        I agree with this sentiment whole heartedly! As an added bonus, students who fail are also very green transportation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by garcia (6573)

        They have trade schools and a lot of them. Unfortunately they force a liberal arts education on those who attend--just like those in traditional college/university settings. :et's go back to the way trade schools were in the 1970s and 1980s and get rid of the liberal arts education nonsense. Problem is that this won't work as the courses required to master a trade generally only take a year and the additional year of liberal arts credits helps with the school's bottom line.

    • It is entirely possible and fair for a class to get all A's if they all meet the criterion (>90% on exams and so on). Yes, you might then argue that the tests were too easy, but if the tests covered the material you want the students to learn, what's the problem? Maybe the students were all very smart. Maybe the teacher is excellent.

    • The problem is "C" is no longer considered average. In most schools, getting a "C" means below average. It's much more common for a "B" to be considered average now.
    • by Syberz (1170343)

      I don't understand what they are trying to do with the school system Canada and the US.

      When I was in school, higher achievers were in one class, average students in another and lower achievers and those with behavioral issues in another. Teaching was tailored to each class and everybody learned at their pace. Lower achievers could learn with more help, higher achievers just saw more content and everybody was happy.

      Why did the school system suddenly decide that being a lower achiever is a bad thing and that

    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      Note the age. This isn't university teaching where being bad may actually have an impact on your professional skills, these are actually young kids who are just entering their rebellious age. Messing their lives because they "aren't the best" is sociopathic at best.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:11AM (#33057390)

    ...is to pay wages and pensions to those inside the system. Actual education is merely a side-effect.

  • Meanwhile... (Score:5, Informative)

    by metrometro (1092237) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:15AM (#33057462)

    In the last days of this congressional session, our elected reps faced two urgent spending requests. One was for ongoing combat in Afghanistan. The other was to keep several thousand public school teachers from being laid off in the fall. One of those got funded.

    But, sure, dick around with the grading scale and pretend it'll fix things.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0710/40137.html [politico.com]

    http://www.pe.com/localnews/stories/PE_News_Local_D_teach28.44ac093.html [pe.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *

      In the last days of this congressional session, our elected reps faced two urgent spending requests. One was for ongoing combat in Afghanistan. The other was to keep several thousand public school teachers from being laid off in the fall. One of those got funded.

      They should have both been defeated. It's not my responsibility to pay for California's expensive regulatory regime (which drives up the cost of their teachers' salaries).

  • Bell Curve (Score:5, Insightful)

    by radicalpi (1407259) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:16AM (#33057468)
    Do people not understand that a normal distribution would be a bell-curve? Some will get A's and some will get F's a few more will get B's and D's the majority will get C's. If you are shooting for everyone getting A's,B's,and C's you are possibly over-challenging those that would normally not achieve C+ and possibly causing them to fail instead. Plus, all of the A students are being even more underchallenged in an effort to put everyone on one side of the curve.
    • Re:Bell Curve (Score:5, Insightful)

      by arb phd slp (1144717) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:37AM (#33057772) Homepage Journal

      Is normal distribution of grades really necessary, though? That only makes sense if you're only comparing the students to one another, which I think is the wrong way to go. Why not compare them to a standard of "excels in this skill" "has acquired the skill" and "hasn't acquired the skill"? Teaching to standards won't necessarily create a normal curve since some skills can be acquired by everyone (for example gym class), or at least everyone who chooses to take a particular course (my high school AP Calculus class).

      We need to have a national conversation about what an "educated" person looks like in the 21st century. Just teaching a list of things we've always taught isn't working anymore, for a vast range of reasons. It is likely that "educated" might differ from state-to-state, but does no one ask "what are we hoping to accomplish by sending all of our pre-citizens to school?" and then work out a curriculum backwards from there?

      The focus on getting everyone ready for a university (which is what it seems like public school is doing) is misguided and wasteful as well as damaging to the students. Telling large numbers of young people, "You aren't suited for college, therefore you FAIL" is a horrible thing to do to a person.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:26AM (#33057608) Homepage

    and start accepting the fact that intelligence is not evenly distributed. Not in groups, not even in individuals. People of average or below average are never going to be engineers, doctors, lawyers, etc. They're not going to compete for jobs in high-paying, intelligence and education-heavy fields because you cannot educate a mind of low capacity.

    The fact is that our policies are being set by a bunch of arrogant elitists who think that if they cram down enough education, they can make a clean, office-dwelling, never-get-your-hands-dirty, middle class hipster society and outsource all of the menial labor, manufacturing and other jobs that people of average and below average intelligence used to do. Well, you can't because most people aren't cut out for that work, and our society cannot continue to maintain the facade of so many people who would have been working in the fields, working in factories, etc. being middle and upper-middle class professionals.

    Part of the reason we are so close to national bankruptcy is that we don't respect hard-working blue collar workers. Whether they are digging ditches or doing intricate plumbing work, their work is as necessary as 95% of the white collar labor force. How about instead of cramming down unnecessary education, people start actually respecting each other for what they do with their lives rather than a bunch of pieces of paper for diploma mills like the average high school or college.

    • by BassMan449 (1356143) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:44AM (#33057918)

      You are exactly right. It has become a big problem in this country. People go to college who have no business being in college because that is the cool thing to do and they want to party. In the long term that has led to lowering of standards at many universities simply because they don't want to fail so many people.

      What you end up with is many people with degrees who probably shouldn't have been able to get it. Those people have been taught that having a degree means they get a better job and they refuse to do jobs that would be better suited for them and that they would likely enjoy much more, because they feel the deserve a better paying white collar job.

      We need to learn to better respect the blue collar jobs. Without people doing those jobs our world doesn't work, yet people are taught from a young age that doing blue-collar work is something you should work to avoid.

  • So, just to be clear, there's no bell curve, right? Grade inflation made this an inevitable outcome.
  • We should really stop pretending that grades are a measure of anything important. Just recognize that school is a waste of time suffered through just to get the diploma so some employer can check a box on his form. Give everyone a certificate of attendance and be done with it, ending the ridiculous notion that completing a school makes anybody smarter or more educated. If you want to measure skill levels in a standard way, make a standardized test, and quit wasting everyone's time on years and years of bore

  • by moosesocks (264553) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:40AM (#33057820) Homepage

    I grew up in Morris County, and am a bit bewildered by this article, given that there's no Morris County school board. This particular issue pertains to Mount Olive -- a town of 26,000 people with a 5000-student school district, not the entire county.

    Not sure how they butchered these details from the source article [app.com].

  • Why Am I Suprised (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DeanFox (729620) * <spam,myname&gmail,com> on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @11:58AM (#33058142)

    This doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

    "I'm tired of kids coming to school and not learning and getting credit for it," said Superintendent Larrie Reynolds in a Daily Record report.

    If the student didn't learn anything does that not mean they failed and should get a failing grade? "C" is Average and "D" is below average but still passing. I fail to see the problem with that. "F" means you failed to learn the course material well enough to pass and do not get credit.

    But then, I'm not a power hungry, attention seeking, small penis administrator that needs to "shake up the box" for no other reason then to get noticed.

    -[d]-

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

Working...