T Nation

D Average = Passing Class?

Eight years ago, the Los Angeles Board of Education adopted an ambitious plan to have all students take college-prep classes to raise academic standards in the nation’s second-largest school district.

Now, that plan is about to take effect: Beginning this fall, incoming freshmen will have to pass those classes to graduate.

On Tuesday, district officials backtracked, offering details of a proposal to reduce overall graduation requirements and allow students to pass those classes with a D grade.

…Coming to a Liberally run School District near you…

Grades are so meaningless.

But I guess if it gives the pinheads something to wax pseudo-intellectual over it is money well spent.

LIFTY, if grades are meaningless, how would you measure academic progress on a massive scale?

D = 50-59%, correct?

[quote]TigerTime wrote:
D = 50-59%, correct?[/quote]

Usually 60-69% on a 10 point scale

[quote]njrusmc wrote:
LIFTY, if grades are meaningless, how would you measure academic progress on a massive scale?[/quote]

I think he means outside of school, grades are meaningless as long as you pass. Grades are a major part of getting into good schools and graduate schools, but after I got my PhD and started working as a physicist not one person has asked me what my GPA was. Your accomplishments in your field are more important than your GPA, so don’t sweat the occasional C if you don’t plan on going to a top graduate school or whatever.

[quote]Dr.Matt581 wrote:

[quote]njrusmc wrote:
LIFTY, if grades are meaningless, how would you measure academic progress on a massive scale?[/quote]

I think he means outside of school, grades are meaningless as long as you pass. Grades are a major part of getting into good schools and graduate schools, but after I got my PhD and started working as a physicist not one person has asked me what my GPA was. Your accomplishments in your field are more important than your GPA, so don’t sweat the occasional C if you don’t plan on going to a top graduate school or whatever.[/quote]

My sister is in med school and she said no one gives two shits about your grades. The whole point is to not fail. I’d have to agree with her.

CS

[quote]njrusmc wrote:
LIFTY, if grades are meaningless, how would you measure academic progress on a massive scale?[/quote]

I wouldn’t.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

[quote]njrusmc wrote:
LIFTY, if grades are meaningless, how would you measure academic progress on a massive scale?[/quote]

I wouldn’t.[/quote]

I’m interested. Explain this. 1,000 kids finish their senior year in high school. Who graduates? Who doesn’t? What do kids put on their applications for college? Comparative assessment is important.

I agree that grades become meaningless once you are in an occupation and making contributions to society. But a discreet measurement of progress is important.

[quote]njrusmc wrote:

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

[quote]njrusmc wrote:
LIFTY, if grades are meaningless, how would you measure academic progress on a massive scale?[/quote]

I wouldn’t.[/quote]

I’m interested. Explain this. 1,000 kids finish their senior year in high school. Who graduates? Who doesn’t? What do kids put on their applications for college? Comparative assessment is important.

I agree that grades become meaningless once you are in an occupation and making contributions to society. But a discreet measurement of progress is important.[/quote]

Yes, I would be interested in hearing LIFTY’s thoughts on this as well. I suppose we could do oral academic boards, similar to what my department does for potential graduate students. That would be a better system from a purely academic standpoint, but I doubt it would be practical to implement on a large scale, like what a high school system would require.

^How would the results be recorded objectively? True, many school assignments (beyond mathematics) must be graded subjectively which ultimate feed into a letter grade. But without that measurement you have absolutely no clue as to the quality of the individual leaving school.

Even with oral academic boards, there would be some decision, some GRADE, at the end of it to evaluate your performance. Even at work, there are assessments that measure your progress as a professional.

[quote]njrusmc wrote:
^How would the results be recorded objectively? True, many school assignments (beyond mathematics) must be graded subjectively which ultimate feed into a letter grade. But without that measurement you have absolutely no clue as to the quality of the individual leaving school.

Even with oral academic boards, there would be some decision, some GRADE, at the end of it to evaluate your performance. Even at work, there are assessments that measure your progress as a professional.[/quote]

Yes, there will always be some kind of “grade” involved in the process no matter what. Academic boards tend to be pass/fail (mine are at least). I like them better than multiple choice tests and other standardized tests, and it is next to impossible to cheat on an academic board, which is why I am such a fan of them. I don’t see academic boards catching on, though. They are very time intensive and impractical for the sheer number of students that high schools have to deal with.

Is there even a such thing as a high school anymore? In my city, middle schools are gone now. It’s K-6 and 7-12, elementary and high school. Cost cutting and such. Poor performance in the inner-city schools leads to less funding from state and federal government … leads to school closings and teacher layoffs.

But on topic, there are even MORE students in schools now, worse teacher:student ratios. What if the schools could issue a decree to all the businesses in the area to surrender employees for a fraction of a day to sit on these boards? It would be like jury duty: I get a notice in the mail to sit on a board while a kid explains software design concepts, or something. My employer still pays me for the time. It comes at a small cost to employers but perhaps a large savings to the school. I realize this is a very liberal idea, one more piece of increased government power. But I think it has merit. You would also involve the professional community in high school academics and I think the smart kids would put in extra effort to put on a good performance for prospective employers, instead of a teacher they’ll never work for.

^That may not be a bad idea, but I would at the very least limit it to college graduates (even a liberal arts degree is better than nothing), or someone with proven intelligence (ie proficient in certain trades). I would also want math and science portions to be administered by someone knowledgeable in them. They wouldn’t need to have a PhD or anything, but they should know what they are testing. I wouldn’t really want my local Wal-Mart cashier deciding if someone knows enough to pass high school.

Right, I left that part out. I’m a network/software dude (hence the example), so I would probably stick with HS-level mathematics and maybe physics. Some high schools do computer science, in which I am certainly qualified. You’d have to pick smart people for complex things, of course.

[quote]Dr.Matt581 wrote:
^That may not be a bad idea, but I would at the very least limit it to college graduates (even a liberal arts degree is better than nothing), or someone with proven intelligence (ie proficient in certain trades). I would also want math and science portions to be administered by someone knowledgeable in them. They wouldn’t need to have a PhD or anything, but they should know what they are testing. I wouldn’t really want my local Wal-Mart cashier deciding if someone knows enough to pass high school.[/quote]

Well you could do something like what Chicago is doing in for the community colleges. The Mayor got businesses to sponsor the schools basically, based on what speciality the school would teach.

Good idea. I’m waiting to hear what LIFTY has to say, though. Nebulous, post-modern-esque comments like “Grades are useless” require some follow-up.