I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

No Zero Grading?

There seems to be a new push coming out of the education establishment and it is spreading across the nation like a wildfire.

A student does not do his work, refuses to do it and teachers are told to record a “50” in the gradebook instead of a “0”. 

A student “Christmas Trees” the answers to an important class final exam, because he hates school, does not care, and does not want to be there—scoring a “20”--- and yet he receives a “50”.
Meanwhile, other students that try and earn 70, 80, or 85 legitimately after studying diligently and working earnestly to finish their tests get no upward bump.  This is like a liberal engineered, reverse bell-curve designed to totally dumb down education in our country even further than it is being dumbed down already rewarding those that don’t “do” while simultaneously punishing those students who “do”. 

We all know teachers should have latitude in grading.  A student ends the semester, after working his guts out and never missing class and working hard, and the teacher allows such a student to do an extra credit paper to raise his 69.4% to  a 70%.  Yeah—everybody gets that.  That is called caring about kids.

But what if a “everybody gets no lower than a “50” scheme is dictated to all teachers from Educrats, thus unfairly engineering winners while simultaneously diminishing teacher discretion?  Uh, YES, this is problematic.

Is this sort of a scheme fair to students who actually work and do their assignments?  Wouldn't this scheme serve to disincentivize everyone? Isn’t this just a glorified way to make everyone feel like a winner, and isn't this a blatant example of social promotion?

Of course it is.  It is a disaster and it does students no favors in the long run.  But it makes schools appear as if they are improving, particularly the bottom quartile of struggling students.  So, of course the Educrats EMBRACE this scheme

It is for this reason that this scheme is particularly abundant in struggling urban school districts.  A fascinating blog post on this subject, written by a Chicago public school teacher subjected to this policy, provides an illuminating read. 

“After our first year, our principal proposed that we move to what is called a “no-zero policy,” because a zero could bring a student’s grade down so far that recovery was not an option.  She had us read an article that argued that the traditional grading scale of 90-100 for an A, 80-89 for a B, 70-79 for a C, 69-60 for a D, and 59-0 as an F unfairly penalized students because the range for an ‘F’ was 59 points while the other grades spanned only 10 points.  The principal’s proposal was quickly put to a vote, and teachers had the notion that we could always change the policy if we thought it wasn’t working.  The majority of teachers voted in favor of the policy, which meant that if a student did not complete an assignment, he or she would receive a 50 percent.   Many students continued to fall into similar categories--the students who didn’t do homework still didn’t do it, those who didn’t do much class work still didn’t do much class work, and a few opted out of an exam.  But

 there was one major change: The kids who once worked hard to pass by attending tutoring sessions instead decided to forego the sessions and do other things. In fact, even though both batches of freshmen were similar academically, our on-track rate rose from 59 percent to 87 percent.  Since few students were truly failing, hardly anyone thought they needed to work hard to improve. With 87 percent of our freshmen considered on-track, one would expect that those in the second group would have much higher standardized test scores. But in fact, the ACT scores of both groups were nearly the same, and equally abysmal—a 15.1 for those with a 59 percent on-track rate, and a 15.4 for the group with 87 percent on-track.”

Along with the way we have totally dumbed down discipline in schools lately, it would not surprise me at all if this is not the “next big plan” to improve education locally.

I will be strident, vocal, and determined against any such plan here locally if it is suggested in Escambia County.


Anonymous said...

What is the purpose of posting this? What gain do you have and what gain did the person sending it to you have? You have already done a fantastic job at making sure all of Escambia County is well aware of your feelings on this issue and that it is your personal mission to "run them out of town". I guess that was not enough for you? You want to keep salting wounds? This is obviously very personal to you. And please, it has nothing to do with the students. If it was about the students for you, you would not have posted like you did, creating panic in so many parents and students.
This whole situation has been so inappropriately handled it is disgusting. From all parties involved. There is an ongoing investigation. Let it be investigated. Put aside your personal agenda and think about the negative impact all this ranting and public shaming you are participating in is doing to ALL parties involved! Especially the children.
It is terrible enough, Put your big boy pants on Mr. Bergosh and get over your hurt feelings and let this be handled by those that need to handle it.

Jeff Bergosh said...

Anonymous: Whaaaaaat?

Anonymous said...

I do apologize. I made a quick and inaccurate assumption. Please feel free to delete the comment. It does not apply to this post. I will add them to the appropriate post.

Charter School Mom said...

Mr Bergosh- I previously posted anonymously on one of your prior blog entries regarding my concerns and that all charter schools in the county need to be looked at.

This is the exact issue that has been happening at my children's school. They are earning a 100 on assignments as long as something is written on the paper. Per the teacher "assignments are not graded for accuracy, only for participation". The teachers reasoning, she cannot grade that many papers everyday! I have expressed my concerns, especially when my children are making a 100 on every homework assignment and then D or F on tests! They are receiving no feedback on their assignments and in my opinion are being set up for failure! Not to mention parents have no resources to help TEACH their children at home like books- those do not come home with them!

My children go to school to EARN a grade and be taught, instead they are just being handed 100's! This is unacceptable!!

Anonymous said...

I am a random anonymous person. I love reading Jeff Bergosh's blog sometimes, except when it makes me mad. He argues with Satan worshippers. He uses emotionally-charged words as a persuasive technique. And he makes his feelings very clear. And they guy men don't have emotions! Just listen to some male politicians! :-P

Gotta say, Mr. Bergosh, while I don't always agree with you, your blog is like a soap opera! It's better than "Days of our Lives." Other times I feel like I am reading a school board version of Bill O'Reilly.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to say that this has been going on in THIS county. Not quite sure about this particular school year, but this has been going on in very recent school years. Instead of being firm with the discipline, they allow chaos to run wild, which of course takes away from class and learning time. If they would get the discipline straight then they wouldn't have to do this. They're just passing kids through to get them out to the next grade, and so on and so on.

Everybody ignores the big pink elephant in the room to protect themselves. They fawn over and bootlick administrators to an oblivion. No zero grading has been happening already in Escambia county and it makes the bad kids further feel like they can get away with anything. They don't have to work hard because they know they'll at least get a 50. Hell, it makes them act even worse than before. I felt strange when they made me do it.

If a kid has an average of 30 in your class, they'll ask why is this kids average a 30, likes its your fault that the kid isn't doing his work. Something must be wrong with the teacher if the kid has an average of 30.

Jeff Bergosh said...

Anonymous and Charter School Mom--I am going to ask pointed questions about this at the next school board workshop. If you have specifics you would like to share but are uncomfortable doing so, you can call the fraud/waste/abuse district hotline at 855-819-1248. you can remain anonymous if you'd like.

Charter School Mom said...

I am willing to share my specifics. Just let me know where I should send them.