Monday, August 18, 2008

Great State of Texas strikes again - Part one

Although, to be fair, this is an idea embraced by a whole bunch of "experts".
AT A GLANCE: Grading changes
•Homework grades should be given only when the grades will "raise a student's average, not lower it."
•Teachers must accept overdue assignments, and their principal will decide whether students are to be penalized for missing deadlines.
•Students who flunk tests can retake the exam and keep the higher grade.
•Teachers cannot give a zero on an assignment unless they call parents and make "efforts to assist students in completing the work."
•High school teachers who fail more than 20 percent of their students will need to develop a professional improvement plan and will be monitored by their principals. For middle school the rate is 15 percent; for elementary it's 10 percent.
•Minimum score on report card is 50.
As a spur to accountability, I'm not sure that removing all of the accountability from the students and placing in the laps of the teacher is particularly intelligent. As I say often, it's the students' education, not the teachers', and the responsibility for learning is on the student. I will do my job, the students must do theirs. If there is only teacher accountability, then you have addressed only one-half of the problem.

I generally approve of making policy that applies district-wide, but only for "strategic" not for "tactical" policy. Make a consistent dress code. Make a consistent calendar. Decide that marking periods are 20% and mid-terms and finals, 10%.

In another part of the policy, there are specifications on the relative weight of homework, classwork, quizzes and tests. This is where it gets silly. It is too much on the micro-management scale akin to LBJ picking targets from Washington. All that will happen is that I will mis-label a quiz as a test or vice versa.

On the other hand, they do pay us well and "He who signs the paycheck makes the rules." That principal can change the grade without my consent, anyway. At least this is all now aboveboard.
Stupid, but aboveboard.

See this next post for more of my snarky commentary on this issue.

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