Teacher assails practice of giving passing grades to failing students

May 19, 2015 by

[Comments from Donna Garner on Jay Mathews’ 5.17.15 article in the Wash. Post (link posted below):  It is interesting to me that everyone seems to avoid the obvious: constructivism.  When the emphasis on individual accountability was dropped from our public schools and students started working in group projects with group-think being glorified at every level K-16, grade inflation started occurring. The reason for this is that group projects “relieve” students from feeling individually responsible for their academic achievement. Once that motivation to be held accountable individually is gone, then the bar starts to drop. Direct, systematic teaching still requires that individual accountability; constructivism does not.
Grading group projects is subjective no matter what gimmicks are put in place (e.g., rubrics). Because of their subjectivity, it is very hard for teachers to justify to students, their parents (and their lawyers), why little Suzy got a failing grade. The easy way out is to give little Suzy a passing grade no matter how little effort she puts into the group product.  On the other hand, think how unfair it is to the student(s) who does most of the work yet is forced to “share” his hard-earned grade with the other members of the group.
Also, the federal government’s Special Education (IDEA) system destroys individual responsibility, lowers expectations, and produces co-dependent children who could achieve so much more academically if given strong support by adults who help children learn to compensate for their weaknesses.
Donna Garner
5.17.15 – Washington Post
Teacher assails practice of giving passing grades to failing students
By Jay Mathews Columnist May 17 at 12:33 PM 
Caleb Stewart Rossiter, a college professor and policy analyst, decided to try teaching math in the D.C. schools. He was given a pre-calculus class with 38 seniors at H.D. Woodson High School. When he discovered that half of them could not handle even second-grade problems, he sought out the teachers who had awarded the passing grades of D in Algebra II, a course that they needed to take his high-level class.
To read the rest of the Wash. Post article:
Donna Garner
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