Failure at 60%: The unfair academic accountability

In NEISD, teachers are able to create their own grading policies. Inside of that idea, teachers are able to lower and raise the percentage of accountability for each subcategory; like tests, quizzes, daily work, and more.

Core class teachers should reevaluate the ethical dilemma that is having tests count as 60% of your grade.

Students who fail tests but are able to get high grades on quizzes and daily work should not be hindered by the fact that they are bad test takers. Hindering the student from passing a class because they completely blank on information at the thought of taking a test is unfortunate and unfair. Sometimes no amount of studying can help a student from not getting major anxiety during the test itself. Teachers who seriously think it is morally okay to fail a student just because they aren’t particularly good at tests should also have to reevaluate how they perceive academic accountability.

Tests aren’t always a good way of finding out someone’s capacity of the knowledge tested on. Daily work is an excellent example of how well a student can work, and also shows if there is a clear and distinct work ethic to the students themselves. Seeing how often a student turns in homework, completes their worksheet/packet/project, and understands the content at hand while in a less restrictive and uncomfortable situation is a much better tell at how a student can handle and apply the information given to them. “According to the 2012 Nation’s Report Card, average math and reading scores for 17-year-olds have remained relatively stagnant since the 1970s.” –Students Forward. If simple courses such as math and reading have not changed in such a long time, why should schools assume students are able to keep up with the increasing accountability while nothing is actually improving in education’s eyes?

Syllabus information.
Syllabus information. Photo from: NEISD Secondary Student/Parent Handbook 2015 – 2016

Core classes are looked at by colleges and recruiters all the time, especially once applications start to come in. Even though there is usually a limited amount of time to retake tests and quizzes, it’s not possible to retake and correct some anyway. An example of that is when a test is taken on the very last day of the nine weeks, or if a test or quiz is graded and handed out too close to the next unit so that one day is given to correct, retake, and put in the grade for the next grading period. Teachers should also consider making the grading for the block course different. There are many different types of students, and these policies aren’t including nor helping everyone they could possibly help during their years in high school.

Some may say teachers should have the ability to make their own decisions about the grading policies because they are the ones grading the tests and quizzes anyway. But teachers are here to educate and help students in the best way they can; taking away the needed time to correct and retake things doesn’t help the student. Counting something students generally aren’t good on as more than the work they do in class is counterproductive and should be reconsidered.

Instead of keeping the tests at 50-60%, teachers should consider using a different format for the course grading block and look for alternatives. By spreading out the percentages between daily work, homework, and projects, there is a much higher rate of success between students who usually struggle with tests and students who don’t.

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