School Board Stops Teachers From Giving Failing Marks To Students

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Many California schools are gradually phasing out failing grades for high school students. That means that if a high school student at a public school in Los Angeles, for example, gets every single question wrong on a test, that student would not receive a failing grade. Instead, the student would be given the opportunity to retake the test. At the end of the school year, if the student still didn’t have a passing grade in a class, the student would not receive a failing grade for the class. Instead, the student would receive an “incomplete.”

The goal of the new grading system is to help students’ self esteem. Patricia Russell runs a non-profit that advises colleges and school districts on grading alternatives called Mastery Transcript Consortium. According to Russell, not failing students is a good thing because “We’re talking about people who are very young, and labeling them at such an early age as ‘less than’ or ‘more than’ can have significant psychological repercussions.” She added, “Some things in life are zero-sum games, but learning should not be.”

While learning is definitely a life-long activity, not everyone feels that eliminating failing grades will do anything to help students, and many people have taken to social media to state their feelings about the change.

One person argued that failing grades should be a part of school because “failure is a part of life.”

Another person complained that giving a child a do-over in school instead of a failing grade is the same as giving everyone a participation trophy at a youth sporting event.

Yet another person called the elimination of failing grades “coddling.”

Some parents worry that giving students “do-overs” won’t prepare them for life as an adult since most workplaces don’t give do-overs.

Do you think eliminating failing grades will motivate students to actually learn the subject matter, or do you think all it’s doing is failing to prepare them for adult life?