School Districts Ban Teachers From Giving Failing Grades To Students
When we were growing up, grades in school ranged from A to F. As long as you got an A, B or C you were passing. Getting a D or an F meant you were failing and needed to work harder to bring up your grade or risk repeating the class.
California school districts have decided to change the grading system, and not everyone is happy about it. Multiple school districts including Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento and Santa Ana plan to phase out grades D and F, basically only leaving passing grades. That prevents teachers from failing a student.
Here’s how it could play out. An assignment is due. A student doesn’t turn it in or turns it in and deserves a failing grade. The teacher gives the student another chance to do the assignment until the student earns a passing grade. The same with tests. The same with projects. If a student never completes the assignment, test or project, the students gets an incomplete instead of a failing grade.
Advocates of the modified grading policy think it’s needed especially after the pandemic which kept most California students at home for over a year. They believe the new grading system would motivate students to be excited about learning instead of worrying about failing. They call the grading system “mastery learning” and say that by giving students a second chance, they’re grading the students on what they have actually learned instead of over-focusing on test scores.
On the flip side, there’s the argument that eliminating failing grades only fails the students. FOX News contributor Leo Terrell thinks mastery learning is “racist” and “offensive.” He explained, “This Democratic leftist woke culture has basically destroyed any incentive to do well, and the insult is that it’s directed at Blacks and brown kids – that we need some type of special help. It’s insulting.” He added, “It targets kids based on skin color. It’s racist, and I find that offensive.”
Terrell believes eliminating failing grades “is a prescription for failure.” He explained, “When the rubber hits the road, and when they go to graduate school, medical school, law school? They won’t be able to compete.” He continued, “The smart parents are going to take their kids out of public school, go to private school, and they’re going to be facing the best and the brightest.”
Terrell isn’t the only one not on board with mastery learning. Debora Rinehart is a math and science teacher at a Catholic school in Oakland called St. Theresa School. She explained, “I will never lie about [students’] knowledge level. Not reporting ‘D’s and ‘F’s is the equivalent of lying about a student’s progress.”
Do you think it’s a good idea or a bad idea to eliminate failing grades in public schools? As a student, would you be more motivated or less motivated to learn in school if you knew you couldn’t get a failing grade?