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School District Drops 'D' Grades

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the pass-fail-education dept.

Education 617

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.

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How about... (5, Insightful)

sorrowsjudge (1181865) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057288)

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

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

fyrewulff (702920) | more than 4 years ago | (#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... (5, Interesting)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057506)

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... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33057598)

See also game sites that have a 1-10 rating for a game but never really use anything below 7.

The reason for that is most gaming sites don't bother wasting their time on games that would score really low. Most shovelware titles don't get reviewed, but when they do, they get really low scores. The audience that reads gaming sites generally can spot most of the shovelware crap without needing a review to tell them.

Re:How about... (1)

JayWilmont (1035066) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057610)

I have the same pet peeve! The scoring of Tennis bothers me for a similar reason.

However, in this case, the rest of the world has a pretty clear expectation of what an F means. Giving out failing D's would require much more explanation to change the expectations of students, parents, and other school systems that they interact with. There is also the risk of a PR disaster if in getting rid of F's, people mis-interpret that as the school passing everyone no matter how poorly they do.

Re:How about... (1)

Paspanique (1704404) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057746)

See also game sites that have a 1-10 rating for a game but never really use anything below 7.

Yeah, I bet it has to do with possible lawsuit from game publisher. Small organization might be scared to either get the slapper or loose access to scoop or advance copies of games and such. Establish ones are more likely to give out bad review, at least in the past. Now, I'm sure some of them also make sure they don't piss off publishers or studio.

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

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:How about... (3, Insightful)

quatin (1589389) | more than 4 years ago | (#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... (4, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057388)

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.

Will it really matter? (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057552)

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...

Re:Will it really matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33057740)

I mean, from what I understand

You don't understand. Plenty of kids are held back. Your ignorance is not a solid foundation upon which an argument can be built.

Re:Will it really matter? (3, Interesting)

Flea of Pain (1577213) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:How about... (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057818)

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... (4, Insightful)

sorrowsjudge (1181865) | more than 4 years ago | (#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?"

Re:How about... (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057448)

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... (5, Insightful)

sorrowsjudge (1181865) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:How about... (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057592)

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 motivated, it's worth it.

Re:How about... (2, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057572)

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 calculation a D is worth 1 point and an F is worth 0. So, people who would have normally gotten a D in a class (hence a 1.00) will instead get an F (a 0.00), which will put more downward pressure on their GPA than they may deserve if they scored, say, a 68%.

Re:How about... (0, Flamebait)

OneMHz (1097105) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057706)

So, improving by 1% to go from a 69% to a 70 is better than having the kid, say, improve by 30%? Fail means fail. If you do that, you don't need to try a little harder, you need to try a lot harder.

Re:How about... (1)

ThogScully (589935) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057712)

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 calculate my final grade in advance.

If a student were operating in a bubble without any indication of how good or bad they were performing, then you and the GP would have a point.
-N

Re:How about... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057602)

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 institutions, teachers enjoy some discretion. If you got a 69%; but the teacher thinks you were really heading in the right direction or something, they can find a way to give you that extra 1%. If they don't, they can just point at the numbers and let you head to summer school.

Deciding how much granularity to expose in the final grade is a judgment call, as is deciding the cutoff between pass and fail; but the raw data are always available to a substantially greater level of granularity than is probably even meaningful. Even modestly organized teachers commonly have records, down to the point, of how you did on each assignment during the term, and there are typically enough points in a term that that represents .25% or smaller granularity, almost certainly well down in the noise.

Re:How about... (1)

JayWilmont (1035066) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057758)

When I was in middle school and high school, the teachers periodically let me know what my percentage in the class was. In addition, they usually made it easy to compute the current grade assignment-by-assignment, and some students would keep track of it in "real time" if they wanted to. (College was a different story entirely) The letter grade was more for parents and the transcript.

Also, in Middle School/Junior High & High School, most of the classes are required. Trying something else often isn't really an option.

Re:How about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33057386)

We dropped D's at my university. It makes sense. The only difference between D and F was that D gave you 1.0 grade points, but you still didn't "pass" the class (at least as far as obtaining your degree was concerned). For the instructors, deciding between a D and a F for failing students was unnecessary work.

Now, it is much simpler. I have basically four grades to hand out: fail (F), poor (C), average (B), good/excellent (A).

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

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057498)

Now you are redefining everything, and making B's and A's much less valuable.

C was supposed to be the average grade.

D was acceptably below average.

F was unacceptably below average.

B was above average.

A was exceptionally above average.

Re:How about... (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057594)

The problem is that 'A' typically means the poor kid has figured out how to game the system, by doing nothing but whatever obsessive behavior is approved by the school system.

There's no time for learning side-trips and experimenting for the poor kid who's been trained to give that response.

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

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057518)

In most schools, a D satisfies a course requirement outside your major, but not a course requirement within your major. That makes a lot of sense, really, as it provides more leniency in classes that are less critical to your specific degree. The alternative would be grading major students on a different curve, but that blows up when people start exploiting it by changing majors at the last minute....

Re:How about... (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057734)

it provides more leniency in classes that are less critical to your specific degree.

Except for one minor point: that class you got a D in, while part of your major, may have no bearing on your career plans and is simply there so you can have a rounded education in your field.

For example, someone taking a degree in Information Systems has to take programming courses even though they may never program anything after that class. If they get a D, why penalize them for something they'll never use?

The reverse is also true. A person who is really into programming may get a D in a networking class because that's not what they're going to do later on. Again, they're penalized for not getting a C in the class even though they'll never have anything to do with networking.

While a D is a sucky grade, sometimes it's completely justified to do just enough to pass the class even if it is part of your major. You just have to be willing to take the hit to your GPA.

Re:How about... (1)

jayme0227 (1558821) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057482)

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. Right now, grades only serve to stroke the ego and don't say much about ability because they vary so much between teachers and between schools.

As far as I'm concerned, there should be a minimum mastery standard and if students can achieve that, they move on. If I understand enough algebra that I can move on into geometry without struggling, then I've passed. Good enough.

Re:How about... (1)

Hutz (900771) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057628)

My school used to have Ds and require grades of C- or better to receive credit for the course. I never understood it. If I need a C- or better to pass, then what's the difference between an F and a D?
The "scale" made no sense either. 0-64=F 65-69 = D.
Why not anything below 70 = F.
D was like an honorable mention in a spear dodging tournament.

Re:How about... (1)

Yungoe (415568) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057812)

If you are not giving credit for D's, explain the difference between a D and an F.

Good (4, Insightful)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057292)

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:Good (1)

kj_kabaje (1241696) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057472)

Yes, all students are above average and all students will be proficient by 2014. Good thing the world is ending in 2012.

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057604)

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.

Re:Good (1)

Hnice (60994) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057668)

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.

Re:Good (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057732)

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.

That won't last long. (3, Interesting)

Petersko (564140) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057296)

A couple of substandard students with sue-happy parents will take care of that in a hurry.

I like it! (2, Insightful)

drunkennewfiemidget (712572) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057324)

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

Re:I like it! (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057634)

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.

Old news (1)

NonSequor (230139) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057328)

They did this while I was in high school ten years ago.

feh. (4, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057332)

"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?

Re:feh. (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057400)

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. (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057652)

I'm sorry, can you put that into a car analogy?

Re:feh. (1)

CodingHero (1545185) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057440)

"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?

I think that's more like what happens when no one fails and schools pass everyone. I think the idea here is that they're trying to get kids to learn more by saying something akin to "you'll have to perform at least on par with your peers or you'll repeat the grade."

Re:feh. (5, Insightful)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 4 years ago | (#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. (3, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057556)

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:feh. (1, Troll)

gbutler69 (910166) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057656)

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.

Yeah, because the schools only have the children for 6 to 8 hours per day to educate them. What they are being paid to do and are ostensibly trained and qualified to do. No, better to blame the parents that have to work 2 jobs to keep food on the table that they are not spending enough time teaching their kids in the 1 to 2 hours they get to see them each day that doesn't involve sleep. TEACHERS AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION ARE COMPLETELY FULL OF SHIT! Teachers are the whiniest most ill performing of any professsion. They consistently fail to make a difference. The kids that learn would've learned without their useless help anyway. The ones who struggle, struggle and are written off as being lazy, stupid, or the result of poor parenting. FUCK TEACHERS, THE SCHOOLS, AND ALL THEIR SUPPORTERS. Those who can do, those who can't teach, those who can't teach teach teachers!

Re:feh. (2, Interesting)

MoneyManJM (860948) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057570)

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.

Fast track to Binary (3, Insightful)

Samalie (1016193) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Fast track to Binary (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057638)

You could always just pass them for even showing up [capitalismmagazine.com] .

Re:Fast track to Binary (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057730)

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.

Average (3, Insightful)

gatzby3jr (809590) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057364)

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:Average (2, Interesting)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057412)

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

Re:Average (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057676)

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 extreme, particularly when you consider how many years it would add to the average length of a college education.

Re:Average (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33057452)

Miss Wormwood, I protest this "C" grade! That's saying I only did an "average" job! I got 75% of the answers correct, and in today's society, doing something 75% right is outstanding! If government and industry were 75% competent, we'd be ecstatic! I won't stand for this artificial standard of performance! I demand an "A" for this kind of work!

(panel break)

I think it's really gross how she drinks Maalox straight from the bottle.

Re:Average (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057568)

"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 (5, Insightful)

ComputerGeek01 (1182793) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (5, Insightful)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (3, Funny)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057476)

... or carpenter ...

Re:Average (1)

sedmonds (94908) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057748)

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

Maybe I could learn to be a garden* instead.

* gardener

Re:Average (1)

Flea of Pain (1577213) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057542)

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:Average (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057606)

I meant carpenter... haha...

Re:Average (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33057474)

This is the USA. All of our children are above average. And the capitol of nebraska is NEBRASKA.

Re:Average (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33057762)

haha if the "capitol" was intentional

Only if grading on a curve do people have to fail (2, Insightful)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057630)

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.

Re:Average (1)

kick6 (1081615) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057716)

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.

I'm not sure where you're from, but here in the states we don't "grade on a curve" in primary school. Therfore a C isn't average, its indicative of the percentage of the material you've grasped (C being 70%-79%). So no one HAS to fall below this mark, necessarily. If however you do, I don't see it as unreasonable that you would have to take the class again until you do. This is basic stuff. We shouldn't be moving children up the ranks if they're only grasping half of what they're being taught. Yet we are: parents don't want poor dumb Johnny's feeling's hurt because he's stupid so in some school districts the parents can actually override the instructors decision to have a student repeat a grade level.

Re:Average (1)

the_hellspawn (908071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057764)

Lincoln

Re:Average (1)

BassMan449 (1356143) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057790)

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.

The primary role of our education system... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33057390)

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

MOD PARENT UP! (1)

gbutler69 (910166) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057698)

You have spoken much truth young padowan!

Make your assessments more realistic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33057422)

What you should be more worried about is the fact that students that don't learn often get good grades. Rote memorization isn't learning guys, neither is cramming. Rework how you assess students before you start claiming people with D's don't learn. For all you know, they learn well but suck at your stupid testing methods.

But what do I know, just a guy that failed or got D's in lots of classes, aced standardized tests, and did great in college...who am I to say I know about education more than someone who probably dropped out of their main course, became a teacher, and then thought they knew more than everyone else...(no offense to teachers that really pursued their career of choice, but lots of people like this seemingly failed at something else then became teachers...the good teachers generally took it up on purpose).

I've got another idea ... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057434)

What about just giving those who don't deserve passing an F, and using the scale of A-D for a more fine-grained scoring of those who deserve to pass?

D doesn't care. (1)

Reilaos (1544173) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057450)

D will just hang out with his other, more cool friends, like E. They don't want to have anything to do with your silly 'grades' anyway.

I approve. (1)

Iburnaga (1089755) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057454)

I approve but there does need to be other ways to get people to study other than slapping an F-bomb on them.

Retarded solution (-1, Troll)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057458)

Hell why don't they do away with B and C while they're at it.

The problem is not the scoring system, it's mediocre teachers who are just collecting a paycheck and 3 months vacation per year, and apathetic students who would rather be playing PS3 or XBox than learning about fractions.

Increasing the passing grade, if it has anything at all, will just artificially cause slackers to work a little harder to be able to scrape by again. It will not cause them to take an "interest" in the material. THAT can only be done by good teachers.

By the way, I never had anything less than an "A" in my life.

Re:Retarded solution (1)

CodingHero (1545185) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057520)

Increasing the passing grade, if it has anything at all, will just artificially cause slackers to work a little harder to be able to scrape by again.

True, but by working harder they will (theoretically) be learning that much more.

Re:Retarded solution (3, Interesting)

Flea of Pain (1577213) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057708)

That is an interesting opinion, however you are failing to take into account that there are students there who aren't slacking, but who are not capable of doing the work. The IQ scale doesn't only extend above 100. You will on occasion get a student who can go through the motions, but cannot understand why they are doing it or what the purpose is. These students will not be able to remember the steps all of the time, and they will not (or probably more realistically, should not) pass the course.

However, these same students will have an aptitude somewhere else. For example, I once worked with a student who could not figure out the gas laws to save his life. It would not click. He failed that unit in a bad way. However, you give that guy anything related to a car and he can work miracles with it. These kinds of students need the D's so they can get through high school and into the trade of their choice. Just because you can't do math, science, or english well, doesn't necessarily mean you will not survive in the world.

Obviously there are some basic skills you need, but being able to fix a car will make you decent coin in today's world and you don't necessarily need to know gas laws.

That being said, I think the premise behind this is a good one, however it needs to be backed with a huge support program to enable those students who don't get it to still pass highschool. Good luck doing anything without that diploma these days.

but ... but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33057460)

High school was terribly boring + authoritative, in my senior year, I think I squeaked out with a D average.

I never would have finished high school, to go on to be on the Dean's (89+ average) list throughout my bachelor's degree.

Re:but ... but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33057600)

So, you got a D average in high school therefore,

you didn't have the grades to get into a good college therefore,

you went to a crappy college therefore,

you got a crappy education (and no - it's not properly pronounced edumucation) and,

you're bragging about making the dean's list?

Shit, I'd love to have seen how poorly you would have done at a good college that actually challenges your thinking.

Meanwhile... (4, Informative)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Meanwhile... (1)

AmazinglySmooth (1668735) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057780)

Rather than generalize about education vs. war funding, why don't you find a bunch of top-notch teachers that were laid off and put them on the news.

Bell Curve (5, Insightful)

radicalpi (1407259) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33057540)

We already dropped the letter E a while back, so the bell-curve is messed up anyway.

Re:Bell Curve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33057644)

Do people not understand that a normal distribution would be a bell-curve?

Bell curves? Are you serious? You could fill a warehouse with every vital concept that the everyman doesn't really understand. But beyond that, parents have a tendency to believe that their kids are exceptional at everything, even when that doesn't seem to be the case.

I admit to being surprised by your comment. This is slashdot, and our arrogant contempt for the average person is legendary.

"Are kid's ain't no C students!"

Re:Bell Curve (4, Insightful)

arb phd slp (1144717) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057772)

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.

Why just make it Pass / Fail (0)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057480)

Why just make it Pass / Fail

Sooo much easier! (1)

mseidl (828824) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057524)

Think of how easy it will be for the kids to learn the alphabet if it only had 25 letters instead of 26!

Re:Sooo much easier! (1)

boneclinkz (1284458) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057682)

Wow tht relly works! Give this mn a medl!

Re:Sooo much easier! (1)

boneclinkz (1284458) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057696)

I screwed it up :(

Here in Texas... (1)

JasonM314 (1866144) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057534)

We did this ages and ages ago. I graduated high school in '94, and we didn't have D grades then, and they still don't have them now in any district I know of.

Step in the right direction... (1, Interesting)

Anomalyx (1731404) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057574)

I'd say it's a step in the right direction to hold students more accountable, but it's a far cry from a full solution. The real solution, in my opinion, is to hold the *TEACHERS* accountable. They should use the yearly standardized testing (which needs some improvements of its own, and stop dumb-ing it down!) and throw out the teachers whose classes always have lower scores than expected. Of course, each student's previous year's scores need to be factored in so you don't screw over a good teacher that got a bunch of dumb kids, but it's a start. There's more thought that needs to go into it, but basically what I'm trying to say is that accountability needs to be present in all places, not just students. Now if only there was a way to hold parents accountable...

We have to stop preaching equality (5, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057608)

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.

Grading Through Abstraction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33057614)

Grading is an abstract, relative scale. Removing the 'D' range merely extends the 'C' range.
Stating that all students are 'average', 'above average', or 'failing' doesn't seem entirely right.
It is possible to be sub-standard without being a failure.

No more bell curve :/ (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33057618)

I think part of the problem is that it is no longer OK to have a standard bell curve for student achievement. Why couldn't A's strictly be meant for the students that truly excel? Instead we are left A/B students that can get by with just doing their homework and studying for ~30mins a day.

Not that Revolutionary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33057650)

I grew up in a NJ district that didn't have a 'D' grade. This isn't all that revolutionary or unique. It doesn't matter in the end because report cards from Middle School and beyond looked at GPA and displayed numeric grades (i.e. 88, 95, 55 [Spanish.. yuck]) which then were translated into a 4.0 grade point scale. This is what colleges saw. If you were in the 'D' range, it didn't matter, you certainly weren't going to Harvard.

D for Diploma (1)

drumcat (1659893) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057670)

So, just to be clear, there's no bell curve, right? Grade inflation made this an inevitable outcome.

How about eliminating the other grades too? (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057674)

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 boredom in schools.

They still have A+ (0, Troll)

drumcat (1659893) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057700)

Rest assured, their "AP" (read: affluent pricks) students will still get a 6.7 GPA.

Bad idea. Its just a feel-good move (-1, Troll)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057728)

The only consequence of removing categories is the next highest (C category) now has to become wider so will be easier to achieve.

Now everyone gets a C, regardless of how dumb they are.

Look, Obama just made all kids more intelligent!!!

Drop Grades Entirely (0)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057782)

With the emphasis on standards-based education, the grade system is antiquated. Either a student meets a standard or they don't. It's that simple. If you are like me, and don't like that black/white simplicity, then get rid of the standards-based system of "you must be able to do X". If you can do X, then you pass...why assign a grade?

Good thing my college never adopted that (1)

wernox1987 (1362105) | more than 4 years ago | (#33057810)

I'd still be taking Diff Eq. D=DONE
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