I was first intrigued when I read the headline of this article: New policy lets students skip class, still pass. (link dead) I’ve long been an advocate of a class structure that would allow students to progress at their own pace, and to be graded not on Busyhomework* and Attendance, but rather on final exams and meaningful projects. I was quite disappointed when I realized that it wasn’t the result of this that they were able to pass, but because of people gaming a system that had so lowered the bar that they couldn’t fail. They have a minimum grade of 50% to prevent people from feeling bad when their grade comes back 5% or 10%. Their response? Grade them on attendance. Oops! I guess that wouldn’t have any effect would it? If you grade them on attendance and their grade drops to… 0%, which gets boosted up to 50%… The same that their grade was already.

“The Board of Education is now considering a proposed attendance policy that would base 10 percent of a student’s grade on classroom attendance during each 10-week marking period.”

Gee, it says something when the students know more about averaging than the board of education. It just goes to show that if you lower your expectations people will strive to lower their effort accordingly. ;)

This is also an example of exactly why welfare causes unemployment. The students in this case have to make up 50% of the grade before they can even affect their final score. Every point they earn from 0 to 50% is offset by one negative point off of their base 50%. This is just like the system where when you earn money and you’re on welfare they reduce or completely eliminate the welfare money. They have to work extra hard before they get their first dollar above what they already get from welfare and that’s a major negative towards them actually seeking a job. 

* Busyhomework: Paperwork assigned to keep faster students busy so the teacher doesn’t have to let them progress faster than the slowest students in the class.