Saturday, May 2, 2009
Premier Grade Inflation?
In Sunday’s AJC, there is an extensive article about grade inflation at the high school level. The AJC reporters use the need for remediation at the college level as the proof that grade inflation is pretty much rampant at some GA high schools. In addition, the AJC found that schools with huge differences in the percentage of students, who pass a class, yet fail the EOCT had the highest remediation rate at the college level.
Of the 20 high schools with the highest remediation rates in Metro Atlanta, 10 are from DeKalb! Three of the bottom five are DeKalb schools. (I even excluded Open Campus, since it is so different.)
DeKalb County Schools’ spokesperson is quick to subtlety blame teachers, by saying “the district encourages all schools to teach and grade rigorously. Teachers are supposed to teach the state standards and use benchmark tests to check whether students are learning what they should.” No mention by Davis of how difficult DCSS makes it for teachers to fail students.” I consistently hear from teachers and administrators how difficult it is for teachers to fail students. I know that parents are a big part of the problem – complaining about a “B” let alone a “D” or “F.” But social promotion is still a huge part of the academic culture in DeKalb schools and that is reflected in our dismal college remediation rates.
Curry, the graduate of Redan High in DeKalb, said that when he struggled in high school math, one teacher offered him an easy opportunity for extra credit. “My teacher was like, ‘I know you want to graduate, so if you just do this one project, you can pass,’” he said. He did. He ended up in remedial math, too.
And Kathy Cox makes no sense with this doozy, “But she also said teachers at times misunderstand what administrators are trying to accomplish when they question harsh grading. Teachers are misinterpreting a lot of what these principals are trying to do,” she said. “These principals are trying to get teachers to grade based on the standards. If a child goofs off for part of the semester, then shapes up later, for instance, what’s most important is that he or she can do work up to state standards, Cox said.”
I question why she doesn’t think it is a negative for a principal to question a grade at all, especially if the grade reflects the fact that the student goofed off and didn’t do all the work. I find this statement terribly indicative of why we struggle to find young employees with decent work ethics.
The article, which is very lengthy, can be found here.
The specifics by school can be found here. If you want to see the entire list, simply leave the words select in both categories and the entire chart comes up.
Thanks go out to the anonymous blogger who sent us this via email.