Monday, April 13, 2020

Suggested Grading Policy

Someone at UFT asked me to weigh in on a possible grading policy for the remainder of the current apocalypse. I got together with six teachers from Francis Lewis High School, and we wrote the suggestions below.

They are simple, but I think there's great value in simplicity. American icon Pete Seegar said, "Any damn fool can make something complex. It takes a genius to attain simplicity."

Now I won't represent our little group as geniuses, but we thought this through, discussed it at length, and determined it to be the optimal approach, all things considered. I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on it and discuss it, if you wish.

Proposed Grading Policy for Spring 2020

We agree with the mayor that now is a time to show compassion for the students we serve. We understand that they and their families are suffering from enormous stress, anxiety, and perhaps even the loss of loved ones. We understand some of them lack sufficient technology to participate. We therefore propose the following policy for the remainder of our school year:

1. Do no harm. Wherever students were at the time schools were closed, we agree not to lower their grades. We cannot penalize students for circumstances beyond their control.

2. Teachers shall have flexibility to use either numerical grades, or pass/ fail options. Students who may have been on the cusp of passing and show promise can receive a P as a grade. High achieving students entering or applying for colleges can still get grades of 98 or higher, for example. Teachers will have wide latitude in raising student grades for excellent work or participation as they see fit. 

3. Classes based on cumulative learning will do a thorough review in September 2020, and teachers will not expect full mastery of 19/20 school year topics by that time.
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