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Wed Aug 1, 2012, 06:20 PM

 

Pueblo's 'no-zero' grade scale to award half-credit for cheating

http://www.tucsonsentinel.com/local/report/073112_pueblo_grades/pueblos-no-zero-grade-scale-award-half-credit-cheating/

Pueblo's 'no-zero' grade scale to award half-credit for cheating

Dylan Smith
TucsonSentinel.com

A new grading policy at Pueblo Magnet High School will award students who cheat a 50 on their assignments, rather than a zero, a Friday email from the school's principal said.

"We will not be using zeros for any purpose," said the email from Principal Vivi Watt, which described the grading scale as "a 50 point scale, rather than a 100 point scale (sic)."

Most Pueblo teachers contacted about the "no-zero" policy would not comment, citing a fear of retaliation by administrators, but one expressed concern about the change.

"It's a policy that's not thought out very well," said the teacher, who would only speak conditioned on anonymity.

Update: Pedicone: Pueblo's no-zero grading 'crossed the line'
TUSD officials are tossing out a “naive” Pueblo High plan to give students a minimum 50 points on every assignment, even in cases of cheating
.




The Update:

http://www.tucsonsentinel.com/local/report/080112_pueblo_grades/pedicone-pueblos-no-zero-grading-crossed-line/

Pedicone: Pueblo's no-zero grading 'crossed the line'

Dylan Smith
TucsonSentinel.com

Tucson Unified School District officials are tossing out a "naive" Pueblo High plan to give students a minimum 50 points on every assignment, even in cases of cheating.

Calling a plan to institute "no-zero" grading at Pueblo Magnet High School "well-intentioned" but "naive," TUSD Superintendent John Pedicone said Wednesday that the principal of the South Side school was told, "You can't do that."

The halt to the new grade scale was welcomed by a TUSD board member and at least one Pueblo teacher.

Pueblo's Vivi Watt emailed teachers a new grading scale on Friday, telling them, "We will not be using zeros for any purpose."



My parents, being semi-retired teachers, will probably have a stroke when they hear about this crap. And we wonder why some people ask what the hell is wrong with schools these days.

Edit: X-posted to the Arizona forum.

8 replies, 1104 views

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Reply Pueblo's 'no-zero' grade scale to award half-credit for cheating (Original post)
PavePusher Aug 2012 OP
Goblinmonger Aug 2012 #1
Peregrine Aug 2012 #2
PavePusher Aug 2012 #3
knitter4democracy Aug 2012 #4
PavePusher Aug 2012 #5
knitter4democracy Aug 2012 #6
proud2BlibKansan Aug 2012 #7
ICDpress Aug 2012 #8

Response to PavePusher (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 06:25 PM

1. I think the better option is to go to 4-point grading

but I understand the 50% basement. I would imagine there are other repercussions for the cheating.

The current scale (0% to 100% with 60% being the cut-off for passing) over-weights the zero. Using 50% as the bottom, puts each grade category as 10%.

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Response to PavePusher (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 07:30 PM

2. A lot of schools do this

The justification is to prevent students from digging a hole too deep to climb out, so they give up and become problems. Principals really don't like teachers to fail students. They make it a pain in the ass to do it. I fail maybe one or two a year when i could do 10 - 15 a year. Why bother when the principal will promote them anyway.

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Response to Peregrine (Reply #2)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 08:17 PM

3. In other words...

 

you've given up and are part of the problem.

Now, before you go ballistic... as I stated, I am the son of two educators. They fought these battles for over 40 years in public and private schools, in the U.S. and overseas. I don't think they ever had to deal with a culture-of-failure, but I've never really discussed it with them. I'm going to email this to them tonight and talk with them about it.

I don't have any pat solutions, or really even any suggestions, but simply allowing failure to pass can't be the answer. I've been in the USAF for 22 years. I've worked in aircraft maintenance and trained new kids in it. We're not allowed to let people fail. If I said a kid who consistently failed to perform her/his job correctly was acceptable, I'd go to jail. I will grant that there are considerable differences between my situation and yours, so the analogy isn't exactly parallel.

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Response to Peregrine (Reply #2)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 11:22 PM

4. I hear ya.

At the school I subbed in last year for first quarter, the teachers were in danger of not passing their evals if they had a higher than 8% failure rate in any one of their classes. The kids had figured this out and just started refusing doing work. I had a 30% failure rate (can't make zeros add up to anything), and since I was a sub, there wasn't anything anyone could do about it. I stayed late (when I wasn't supposed to by law), I talked with kids, I called home, I had them meet with me during lunch--nothing worked. I had a kid tell me he wasn't going to do the big essay because, as he said, I had bills and needed the job, so I'd find a way to pass him without it.

Disgusting to me.

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Response to knitter4democracy (Reply #4)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:46 AM

5. Digital recorder.

 

I'd say there was a good case to be made that those kids were trying to commit a crime (by getting teachers unjustly fired).

At the least, if the school won't take action, you go to the press.

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Response to PavePusher (Reply #5)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 08:51 AM

6. Kids try to get teachers fired all the time.

Heck, there was a big group of seniors my second year of teaching who came awfully close to getting me fired just because they didn't like that I assigned homework and had high standards.

It's not even news. Kids do this all the time, and some of the time, they're successful. Teachers know this, and in the environment we're teaching in these days, we have to be careful if we want to keep our jobs. It's taken me three years to get a full-time teaching job (up against 800-1000 per teaching job posting, and I didn't even get one interview this summer when my resume was even stronger), and now I'll be evaluated every year by a capricious principal, so all I can hope is that I don't make too many waves and can jump through all the hoops just right.

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Response to knitter4democracy (Reply #6)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:55 PM

7. At the elementary level,

they accuse the teacher of hitting them.

Happens a LOT. And again, depending on the principal, sometimes the accusation works, sometimes it does not. Doesn't matter if it's true or not.

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Response to PavePusher (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 04:54 AM

8. Zero - 50

Grades should be given at teacher's discretion.

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