Minnesota Middle School Eliminates ‘F’ From Grading Scale to Take Failure Out of the Picture

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Did you ever get an F in middle school? If so, you probably felt like a failure. That’s what the F stands for, right? A big ‘ol fail.

It’s really not a good feeling. That’s part of the reason Sunrise Park Middle School in Minnesota has recently made some changes to the traditional grading scale that excludes anything less than 50%–and that meant that no one could ever receive an F again.

The other reason for eliminating Fs? So that the kids can focus on actually learning and not getting discouraged by grades. “Our whole intent is to ensure that grades focus on the process of learning,” said Principal Christina Pierre. “We want them to become good learners.”

The idea of eliminating the F comes from Minnesota’s superintendent, Dr. Wayne Kazmierczak, who encouraged the district’s plan to considerably alter its grading practices.

“Dr. Kazmierczak and WBLAS believe grades should be a measure of what a student knows and has mastered in a given course,” the school district wrote on its website in 2020. “Grading should not be a behavior punishment and should not be a measure of how well a student can survive stress at home.”

Students grades will be solely based on knowledge, and no longer factors that were once considered, such as being late to school, turning in assignments late or how neat (or not neat) the student is. The point is giving the student a second chance if they need more learning time than their peers.

“We realize that not every kid gets it the first time. Some students need more time to learn than others,” Pierre said. “So, we are giving them that 10-day window for revisions and retakes.”

Additionally, the idea of eliminating grades under 50% helps students who might have passed the majority of their assignments but has something like an “incomplete” for one of them—they’d still pass the class instead of failing. They believe that this might help students get more motivated to do the assignment right the first time.

“We really want to encourage our students to put in the work that it takes to learn correctly,” Pierre said.

Interesting concept, huh? We wish this grading scale was around when we were in middle school! What do you think of the idea of getting rid of the F from grades? Do you think it’ll help with learning or do you think it could create any problems?