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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

And This Has What To Do With the Real World?

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Fond du Lac adopts a trendy  new grading system, under which "participation in the classroom, attendance and behavior will not be considered by teachers when giving grades. Extra credit will be eliminated. Homework will be counted as practice and students who cheat will be allowed to take a different test."  Note especially  the life lesson in allowing kids who "cheated" a second chance.

 

A new pilot grading system set to begin this fall at Fond du Lac High School changes the way most people think about measuring student success.

Under the new standards-based grading system, participation in the classroom, attendance and behavior will not be considered by teachers when giving grades. Extra credit will be eliminated. Homework will be counted as practice and students who cheat will be allowed to take a different test.

“Grades should not be about punishment — they should reflect that a student has mastered a key concept,” said John Whitsett, the school district’s director of curriculum and instruction.

Critics of the grading system claim students should be rewarded for being hard-working, good citizens and receive consequences for bad behavior.

But all those non-academic items cloud the issue of grades, Whitsett said, and give a distorted view of student achievement. Counting how much time a student spends in the classroom, how many assignments are turned in, or how they behave is not a true reflection of what they’ve learned.

The new philosophy states that giving points for effort or trying hard harms students, as eventually they will hit a brick wall of not having the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the future, he said.

“Frankly, from an educator’s standpoint, this is a move in the right direction,” Whitsett said. 

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