Oh No You Didn’t!

Per this, “Dallas public school students who flunk tests, blow off homework and miss assignment deadlines can make up the work without penalty, under new rules that have angered many teachers.”

Um, and parents, too. Check out the torrent of unhappy customers in the comments section of the Dallas Morning News article.

–Guestblogger Mike Goldstein 

2 Replies to “Oh No You Didn’t!”

  1. If you read the new grading policy thoroughly it actually isn’t dumbing down the students. If the Dallas teachers use it correctly you are actually making expectations higher.

    The grading policy is almost similar to what would be printed on an University course syllabus. 45% is homework and classwork combined, 20% is projects/products, 20% is tests/quizzes, and 15% is a six weeks exam. Before homework was 20%, 50% was classwork, and 30% was tests. In the past tudents would fail if they didn’t do homework because it was worth 20% of their entire six weeks grade. If a student made B’s on classwork and tests they would fail if they didn’t do homework because the weight was so high, I have seen it happen too many times to middle school students.

    Having projects part of the grading policy pushes teachers to do project-based learning in their classroom. Some already do projects in the classroom, but others could just slap worksheets on desks all day. It forces teachers to come up with more rigorous activities. Homework will not be minimized.

    The Dallas ISD website clarifies missed assignments and test make-ups. Giving a second opportunity applied mostly to the elementary students. Once the student was in middle school and high school, it was the teachers’ decision if they would allow make-up work. Students will actually have a struggle and adjustment to this grading policy. The students that never do their homework may be the ones that don’t complete the project, thus they could easily fail. If students are not understanding what is being learned in the classroom will not pass the tests (20%) or six weeks exam (15%) which total 35% weight together.

    People, even the teachers, want to moan and whine about change rather than looking deeper at the change. I was that teacher when I first heard about it, but I researched more and realized this could be a good thing for our kids! That is why we are here.

    The teachers in my department shared ideas about what to do about homework. As math teachers we can’t blow off homework. If we still give homework everyday of the week, we were going to average the grade at the end of the week of the 4-5 assignments to make it one assignment grade. Also, we wanted to do quality instead of quantity. Give them less problems but require more higher-order thinking. Some teachers give too much homework that they don’t even have the time to grade because it is too much. It just becomes busy work for the students rather than something that is beneficial to their learning.

    We don’t want them to fail. The costs are too high if we let it happen. We will pay for it later in our communities. Think about what happens to the kids that drop out of high school. Not all of them are law-abiding citizens. We pay for it in the jail systems, welfare, etc… That is another opinion…

    This grading policy could be influential to our students by getting them college-ready. That is what we want…we are not trying to mask students performance by letting them blow off homework to pass. It is the interpretation of each individual teacher, and let’s hope they get the right information and not dumb the expectations of our kids. Negative comments like Goldstein writes misinforms people and could easily influence them to let the kids blow off homework and deadlines.

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