New School Rule: Skip Homework Still Get Grade

  1. COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa --

    Students who don't hand in homework won't receive a zero anymore under new rules for a new semester that started on Monday at Council Bluffs Community Schools.

    Students and teachers are encouraged to use the new grading techniques. School officials said that under the old regime, a student who received a zero had a tough time recovering a grade in the course. Administrators said that by making the failing gap smaller, students still have a chance to bounce back and pass at the end of the semester, even after a mistake.

    Superintendent Dr. Marth Bruckner said she has seen many students start a new year rebelling.

    "We don't want to send the message to kids, as we have done in some classes, that after you have failed in this class for four weeks, you have no chance of passing at the semester," Bruckner said.

    In Council Bluffs, each grade range has constituted 10 points, so an A is a grade from 90 to 100, a B is from 80 to 90 etc. An F has ranged from zero to 60.

    Last week, Bruckner said she visited with high school staff and recommended using similar intervals, so that on the 100-point scale, an F would range from 50 to 60 instead of zero to 60.

    "Some teachers are really wrestling with, 'I don't want to give them 50 out of 100 points,' and to those teachers I say, 'Fine, you don't have to. Go to a different grading scale, like 5-4-3-2-1-0,'" Bruckner said. "We're not saying give them half credit. We're saying, give them the F. Just don't kill them with the F."

    Parents are getting used to the new recommendations.

    "I have an 8- and a 10-year-old," said parent Jodi Brown. "And as they excel through school, I would rather have them be held accountable for their actions. If they don't turn in an assignment, I would think they deserve a zero for not completing it."

    "I think it's great to give them a second chance to make up for it," said Julie Michalski. "I don't want to see anyone fail, but they need to be held accountable for their work."
    Right now, the new grading idea is only recommended for the high schools -- Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson. Use is left to teachers, but Bruckner said the hope is that departments will work together so that everyone agrees on the same scale.

    Gretna uses something Superintendent Dr. Kevin Riley called the "do your work" policy. Students who don't hand in something, or don't pass with a grade of 70 percent or greater, must come in before and after school to complete and pass that assignment. Riley said the policy has been used for 25 years, and in that time, the failure rate has decreased from 10 percent to just a handful of failing grades at the high school. He said the policy has also cut down on behavior issues.
  2. As an educator, this irks the hell out of me. There is no way I'd be in favor of giving students a free ride through their classes. And the parents who favor this are just in denial. What a way to hinder the kids who, if they can't do the work, shouldn't be given good grades.
  3. The result of this is what I see when I'm teaching undergraduates. And it's not good. If someone doesn't know something, or doesn't want to do something they should be held accountable for it.

    I have students who come see me and say "Could I have at least 50% for that?" when all they hand in is indecipherable cr@p. Where do they get this sense of entitlement from?
  4. What's that saying about people rising to the level of the expectation you have for them? If you expect nothing, that's what they will give you.

    As a parent, this would piss me off. In the long run, you are doing the students a great disservice.

    My daughter once long-term subbed for an 8th grade remedial math class. She had one student who never turned in a single assignment, nor did she ever actually complete a test. She turned the tests in completely blank. Naturally, my daughter failed her. The student and the mother came in to see my daughter and blasted her. They didn't think it 'fair' that she failed the girl.

  5. ^^ The nerve of some people.
  6. Awesome. Somewhere in a third world nation, a child is getting whiplashed.
  7. We are doomed. And when these little cherubs get their first job and even worse, their first performance review with some construcitve criticism they will fall apart, call a lawyer, and cease to function all because they have not developed discipline, responsibility, self starting abilities and essentially, character.
  8. way to encourage kids to be more responsible. it is no wonder that our nation has been dropping in the educational ranks.
  9. I went through high school in Australia (Queensland, I don't know about the other states) and homework was never a necessity. The teachers didn't even set it half the time. But if you didn't do some work, you're guaranteed to fail the exam. I don't know, is this how it works there? For example, your whole grade rides on two assignments and two exams (mid term and end of term). If you fail these, you fail, no question. Whether you work between those is your problem.

    Same in uni too... no work given out, you don't even need to show up to class. But if you don't do it, you'll fail.

    So... I don't really see the problem?
  10. ^ i see what you mean helium, but there is huge difference between college/university study and primary/secondary studies. Tertiary courses are optional hence why you should be old enough to decide if you want to take the course seriously and study, its on your terms. You're treated like an adult, because you are. You are a aware of the consequences of not studying. A child views the world in a very different way, no matter how much potential and natural talent. They cant comprehend being in a situation like that and fully understand the consequences. which is why someone else should take over and ensure they are offered the best opportunities, so they don't regret it. If you were a child would you choose to study over play?
  11. talk about dumbing down the children! America is still last in math and science compared to students overseas.

    what an embarrassment!

    why not just elimianate grades all together and just 'hope' the child will get it? or better yet, mail every young person a high school diploma
  12. This type of policy makes me wonder what kinds of adults we will be creating for the work world. I highly doubt any of us can turn to our bosses and say "I know I didn't do the work, but I'd really like some credit for it anyway." Something tells me, not only would there be no credit, there'd also be no pay and no more job...................
  13. Oh we had this in secondary too (I'm assuming that's high school... grade 8 to 12?). I don't know about primary, I went to primary schools in Taiwan, then America, then Japan and they all had mandatory homework.
  14. Hmmm... OK, I grew up in Iowa. Iowa has one of the best education systems of the US, though even that is suffering and students ARE handheld too much.

    However, I will say that all through high school and college I always had teachers who would accept late assignments. You wouldn't get full credit (like if it were an A paper, you would get marked down two or three grades depending on how late it was), but you would still get CREDIT for it and it would erase a zero.

    What they are trying to do (though how to do that without making some kids get lazy, I don't know) is to encourage people who have given up a chance to at least salvage SOMETHING. I just think it needs to be a case by case thing and not a blanket policy or else kids will abuse it.

    My DH used to be a professor and the problem was worse at the private school than the public school, but it was there at both - kids just don't want to have to THINK for themselves. They want all the answers and just want to regurgitate information... I bet they are a joy that first year on the job.
  15. This is absolutely true. I've read studies where kids from the top 10 industrialized nations are tested and surveyed. US kids test last yet the kids "feel" that they score the best.

    And most elementary schools are eliminating "grades". They now give progress reports. More on this later as I have to leave. I try to get on every committee I can when it comes to the school board, but many of these deicisions are pushed by the "curriculum specialists" or other committees that parents can't get on and many come from the teacher's union itself. They do this by forcing education issues during salary negotiations. ARGHH!!!! Don't even get me started.

    And, can we talk about the one of the newest jokes of the education system "EveryDay Math?" :

    Across the country, from New York City to Seattle, parents are wising up to math fads like “Everyday Math.” Sounds harmless enough, right? It’s cleverly marketed as a “University of Chicago” program. Impressive! Right? But then you start to sense something’s not adding up when your kid starts second grade and comes home with the same kindergarten-level addition and subtraction problems — for the second year in a row.

    And then your child keeps telling you that the teacher isn’t really teaching anything, just handing out useless worksheets — some of which make no sense to parents with business degrees, medical degrees and Ph.D.s specializing in econometric analysis. And then you notice that it’s the University of Chicago education department, not the mathematics department, that is behind this nonsense.

    And then you Google “Everyday Math” and discover that countless moms and dads just like you — and a few brave teachers with their heads screwed on straight — have had similarly horrifying experiences. Like the Illinois mom who found these “math” problems in the fifth-grade “Everyday Math” textbook:

    A. If math were a color, it would be –, because –.
    B. If it were a food, it would be –, because –.
    C. If it were weather, it would be –, because –.