Failing the F Grade

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by exwhyzee, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. exwhyzee

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    Most schools in the USA use a grading scale that ranges from A for excellent work, through B, C, D, and finally F for failing work. A school in Virginia is shifting its grading policy to allow for fewer "F" grades and replacing them with "I" (incomplete) grades. Does the practice give students unrealistic expectations about the world they will enter after graduation, or is this a nice way to encourage students not to be discouraged?


    This article in the Washington Post says:



    "Depending on whom you ask, West Potomac High School's latest change to student grading is either another sign of a coddled generation or a necessary step to help struggling kids.



    The dreaded F has been all but banished from the grade books.
    The report cards that arrived home late last week showed few failing grades but instead marks of "I" for incomplete, indicating that students still owe their teachers essential work. They will get Fs only if they fail to complete assignments and learn the content in the months to come.



    The change in educational philosophy is intended to encourage students to continue working toward mastery of material rather than accepting a failing grade and moving on. Schools throughout the Washington area and the nation have made other moves to improve grading methods, especially as they affect low-performing students, though few have gone so far as West Potomac High, in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County..."


    Read more here.

    Should we fail the F grade, or are we missing a chance for kids to learn how to work within a system of goals and expectations?
     
  2. Joll

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    We had/have A-E in the UK:

    A = Excellent
    B = Good
    C = Average
    D = Below average
    E = Shit (actually - think it was termed as 'poor')

    Think more pc language was drafted in for school reports in the mid-90s tho, such as:

    A = Always reaches highest standards
    B = Usually reaches highest standards
    C = Often reaches highest standards
    D = Sometimes...
    E = Rarely...

    Hmm.
    F should really be reserved for the likes of Hickboy (who chooses to get an E despite being capable of an A). ;)
     
    #2 Joll, Nov 17, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 17, 2010
  3. Bbucko

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    Abolishing the F is not a great idea, IMO. By failing to recognize failure, we wind up cheapening achievement.
     
  4. curioustitan

    curioustitan Member

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    I've never thought of failure as 'failure' until one gives up trying.
    The 'F' grade has really been so negatively stigmatized that often we're missing the simple fact, that the student isn't ready to graduate/proceed to the next level of education or has not applied themself as needed.
    It should be a learning curve and character building, yet we associate it with negative connotations such as 'failure' which can play havoc in a students psyche.
    I guess it is bit of blow to one's ego when we don't succeed at something, but again, it's often the 'ego' that gets in the way of bettering oneself when blinded by pride.
    Life makes us one of two things...'better' or 'bitter'...only you can decide.
     
  5. HazelGod

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    This is a flawed response to the inevitable result of our nation's flawed educational philosophy.

    Despite the many platitudes repeated by politicians ad nauseam, the fact of the matter is that not every child is college material. Some people are gifted artists...musicians, painters, authors, playwrights; others are natural artisans and craftsmen.

    Graduating a bunch of nincompoops who lack the ability to think critically but manage to eke out a minimum score on some standardized assessment is about the worst breeding ground imaginable for our nation's future as a leader in the economic, entrepreneurial and scientific communities.
     
  6. b.c.

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  7. flame boy

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    We can also get F,G and U gradings. The "U" grading is for "un-gradeable".

    I don't see the point in switching an "F" to an "I", if a child is doing a poor job with work the letter used to grade the paper will not make a difference. Also I feel badly for the teachers who now have more work to do by offering second chances and chasing up work of the "I" grade students.
     
  8. D_Harry_Crax

    D_Harry_Crax Account Disabled

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    We need this in the USA.
     
  9. D_Jared Padalicki

    D_Jared Padalicki Account Disabled

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    we use grades in percentage. 100% everything is okay, everything between 50% and 100% is positive and everything below 50% is negative.
    During exams we get grades on 20.
     
  10. Kotchanski

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    I understand what they're attempting to do, but...

    If my child gets an I on their report card, they are given essentially extra time to complete it. Should my child then complete it within the new deadline, they could potentially gain themselves a higher grade than my other child who completed it by the original deadline and got a B.

    This seems rather misleading to me, especially to the children.

    Surely the end result is those who are capable of achieving higher grades on time, will simply put things off in favour of going to the movies with friends and the likes... I mean, it doesn't matter if they don't complete it, they'll get an I and a whole load more time to get it done!

    During my GSCEs I had two courses that required a large amount of course work, which accounted for well over 50% of my final grade for each...

    The school was award a grant to upgrade the computer systems a month or so before it was due in, and the old systems were wiped. To add insult to injury, several of the disks we'd backed out work up onto were corrupted and at least 5 of us ended up having to redo 2 years work in the space of a month.

    I ended up with a D and an E for those two courses.

    I'd have given anything to have had extra time, and I still feel it was deserved, but those failures (in my eyes) led to me studying the subjects further outside of school, and I now make a living from one of them. It pushed me to really look at what I wanted out of my education and take my own steps to take it in the direction I wanted.

    I guess what I'm saying is this: Yes there may be the odd example where this works for the good of the individual, but they will be few and far between. The over all effect will surely be the majority feeling they don't need to apply themselves as much, and many feeling cheated out of grades they worked very hard for, because others who put in far less effort were given the same grades...
     
  11. exwhyzee

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    Interesting point about the extension of time. I get that too.

    As a former educator, I can also see the point of accountability of student achievement. If a student (generally I'm talking about younger students) doesn't do well in school, responsibility can be spread between the student, the parents and the instructor. If a student doesn't complete work appropriately, I understand the idea of doing it over until you get it right. My dad used to play that game with me, "do it over until its correct" and I hated it. Of course, between 9 and 17 years old, I was the world's worst student. Literally.

    Maybe this approach to grading is still in development and will result in some out-of-the-box thinking that doesn't penalize the quick learners, but doesn't discourage the slow learners either. Too many kids here (and I'm sure elsewhere) are not getting the education they need/require/deserve.
     
  12. b.c.

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    I personally think they oughta change it to

    Kinda O.K.
    O.K.
    GOOD, and
    DEWD! High Fiver!!
     
  13. witch

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    gee, a walk down memory lane

    D or F = summer school and grounded most of the summer break
     
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