Grading  The Grading System

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A few years ago, teachers started being graded on their students’ performance. It is a very interesting algorithm for the high school students that is not based on whether the student passes the exam, but how well they have advanced since the middle school English and Language Arts exams. So, for example, if a student has a four on the eighth-grade exam, they should be getting a score of at least 90 percent.

No one takes into account that the student may have become indifferent or something may have happened in their life that school is not the main point in their life. Maybe they have a job to help support their family and they often miss school or some classes each day. They are adolescents and UNPREDICTABLE.

Since this system has been in place, I have been graded on how well the juniors perform on the New York State English Regents. However, I have taught ninth-grade  the last few years and felt confident that the 11th-grade teacher would get us some points. This is the first year I have my own junior class and I will be graded on how well my own students perform.

Many people say: well, if you are a good teacher, then your students will do fine. In reality that sounds correct, but not really. If a student is absent all year and does zero work for you to practice for the exam, they can show up and take the exam and be on my data. Students can transfer into a school from another school or another country and be sitting taking the exam, sometimes in a language they do not speak, and come up on our data.

I once had a physical education teacher complain to me about being graded on how good students perform on regents exams. I suggested in today’s day of many children being overweight that we weigh the students on the first day of school and record their BMI and then look at the improvement in June. The physical education teacher’s response: “I can’t control what they do at home.” I said: “EXACTLY.”

Some people say that we as teachers need to be accountable for our paycheck. Well to quote one of my friends (and I have seen this comparison in a few teacher publications): let’s grade the cardiac doctor on his patients. He will tell his clients to eat healthier, drink in moderation, exercise each day and quit smoking. If and when that client does not listen and has extreme medical issues, we should grade that doctor ineffective.

Have a great week everyone. Stay warm.

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