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- What a Teacher Wants: One Teacher's View - March 25, 2018
- Artist is Not a Dirty Word - March 18, 2018
- The Death of Reflection in English/Language Arts Classrooms - March 9, 2018
- More Than A Teacher - March 4, 2018
- Real Teaching Resolutions - January 5, 2017
- 23 Times I have Questioned My Sanity While Teaching - September 7, 2016
- Part 3: Adventures in Real Word English/Language Arts - Let Them Be Great - August 23, 2016
- Part 2: Adventures in Real World English/Language Arts: Making Them Care - August 4, 2016
Fairness is a battle that is fought in everywhere in the United States. As teachers, we teach about fairness and the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Being aware of bias and unfair situations in the classroom is something I always strive to be aware of and I hope to bring awareness of certain situations to light to make sure that our students are getting the fairness they deserve. This brings up the question: “Is the grading scale fair?” There are several things to consider before you answer this question. What is the current grading scale at your school? In our district, here are the following scales: regular 100-93 A, 92-85 B, 84-75 C, 74-67 D, 66-0 F, then the Honor 100-90 A, 89-80 B, 79-70 C, 69-60 D, 59-0 F. There are several things to consider when deciding if the grading scale you use is fair.
1. Honors Vs. Regular. Regular students must work harder to get an A status. Something seems a little off here. Now in a perfect world, honor classes would be more challenging, but the reality is the majority of honor classes are exactly the same as regular classes. Is it fair for our regular students to be held to a more difficult scale than honors and college bound students when the work is the same? Click To Tweet The scale should be the same for both whether the district chooses the honor or the regular scale.
2. Standardized Testing. Why is it that there is a range of 66% failure and only 34% passing? Is that right? There is more of a chance for students to actually fail a class than pass it. And when it comes to standardized testing 60% is considered proficient. Why is knowing 66% of the class material considered failing compare to knowing 60% of a standardized test considered proficient? Something needs to be done. Either step up the expectation for proficient on the standardized test or balance the range for passing. I am not saying to water down expectations, I am saying our expectations need to be consistent. If when taking standardized testing 60% is proficient then the same expectations needs to be set in the class. Click To Tweet
3. Cumulative Scale. When it comes to calculating a GPA the following rules apply: 4 points for an A, 3 for a B, 2 for a C, 1 for a D, and 0 for an F. Whether the student receives a 93 or a 100 A in a course, the same about of cumulative points are awarded – 4. Are the percentages really necessary? The 4 point range is much simpler and fair. There is only 1 point difference between grades compared to the 7 point range for an A, 7 point range for a B, 9 point range for a C, 7 point range for D, and a 66 point range for an F.
4. Inconsistent Ranges. Another situation to consider is that every school, every district, and every state has a different grading scale. There isn’t a “national” scale so students from Louisiana may have a higher GPA than a student from California. Does that mean the student from Louisiana is more prepared than the student from California? Not necessarily. As much as the Common Core is disliked, it is attempting to set the same expectations across the states, but all this would be in vain if the grading scale is not standardized as well.
With all these inconsistencies, what is to be done? Well, I am not sure. But when I really thought about this, it changed the way I looked at grading. Part of being a good teacher or even a good member of society is being aware of the lack of fairness in the system. Being aware of these things change the way you look at what is considered “failing.” Raising awareness of an unfair system is the first step to right wrongs.