Archive for Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Parents, teachers voice concerns regarding standards-based grading

Megan King, parent of a sixth-grader at Southwest Middle School who helped organize a petition opposing standards-based grading, expresses her frustration with the Lawrence school district’s computer system used by teachers and accessible by parents for tracking students’ progress. She was among 70 parents, teachers, administrators, school board members and others attending a “Grading for Learning” informational forum Tuesday at Southwest.

Megan King, parent of a sixth-grader at Southwest Middle School who helped organize a petition opposing standards-based grading, expresses her frustration with the Lawrence school district’s computer system used by teachers and accessible by parents for tracking students’ progress. She was among 70 parents, teachers, administrators, school board members and others attending a “Grading for Learning” informational forum Tuesday at Southwest.

November 30, 2011

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Parents concerned about the use of standards-based grading in Lawrence middle schools took their questions, concerns and frustrations directly to the folks in charge Tuesday night.

Now the opponents are looking for changes, with many seeking a system based solely on traditional letter grades in sixth grade rather than the combination retained for use this academic year.

“The two don’t mesh,” said Megan King, who had draped a “Stop Standards Based Grading” banner on her back fence facing Inverness Drive, a major route to nearby Southwest Middle School. “They’re different playing fields. One is totally different than the other, and one cannot be layered on top of the other.”

King joined more than 70 parents, teachers, administrators, school board members and others attending a “Grading for Learning” informational forum Tuesday in the cafeteria at Southwest, 2411 Inverness Drive.

A second forum will be conducted from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. today at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School, 1400 Mass.

District officials scheduled the forums after facing criticism from dozens of parents during two separate board meetings, then addressing several small groups at various schools and receiving more than 200 signatures on an online petition calling for standards-based grading to be dropped from middle schools.

Since 2003, standards-based grades — marks tied to state standards for each subject, plus “learner behaviors” such as being prepared for class and turning in assignments on time — have been in elementary schools, which up until last year had included sixth-graders. Last year’s sixth-graders also received traditional letter grades: A, B, C, D or F.

It’s the same thing this year, except that sixth-graders now are in middle schools, where they are taking more classes and with different teachers. Sixth-graders still receive standards-based grades — “S” for successfully meeting standards, “M” for making progress, “T” for being targeted for growth and “E” for excelling consistently — and still receive a letter grade in each subject area.

“Nothing has changed,” said Mark Bradford, school board president, during the forum.

“That’s illogical, to say that nothing’s changed,” said Steve Patton, who has a sixth-grader at Southwest and has criticized the grading system during previous board meetings. “Everything’s changed. The buildings changed. The teachers have changed. The time to teach has changed. The way the school is conducted has changed.

“Everything has changed.”

Whether the grading system itself will change will be up to board members, who have agreed to consider the issue during an upcoming board meeting, likely in December or January.

District administrators maintain that standards-based grades give parents more information about a student’s knowledge and learner behaviors than a traditional letter grade can.

Possible problems

Opponents argue that standards-based grades lead to several problems:

• Teachers don’t have enough time to properly issue such grades.

• An “S” grade does not offer proper motivation for kids, especially those who could strive to go from a B to an A. “The ‘S’ doesn’t give us any information,” said Scott Myers, a Southwest • parent who compiled the online petition.

• Issuing two sets of grades is confusing, both for parents and students.

• The Skyward computer system used by teachers and accessible to parents — all to help track students’ assignments, test scores and other work — isn’t properly equipped to effectively communicate what parents need to know to help their students succeed.

Administrators already have responded to some of the concerns by granting teachers more time to issue standards-based grades, and by reducing — with teacher input — the number of mandatory standards to be graded for each report card. The district also has adjusted information on Skyward and has convened committees of teachers from each of the district’s four middle schools to work on ways to make improvements both for teachers and parents.

After the forum, board member Rick Ingram said that he would consider including parents on such committees or other committees related to standards-based grading.

“These are legitimate concerns, and there is a lot of common ground,” said Ingram, who attended the forum along with all of the other board members except Randy Masten, who plans to attend tonight’s session at Liberty Memorial Central. “These parents are involved, and they really care. These are the people you want to have participating on a committee.”

Several board members noted that many of the concerns raised Tuesday night by parents — who want better communication, more consistency and increased student motivation — could be applied to both standards-based grades and traditional letter grades.

“What we’re really talking about are the details,” said Vanessa Sanburn, another board member.

Bradford said that the board soon would decide whether to continue with the combination of standards-based grading and traditional letter grades for sixth-graders or to drop the standards-based marks at that level and rely instead only on traditional A, B, C, D and F grades going forward.

Once it’s decided, he said, that will be it: Teachers must utilize whatever system is in place, even as people continue to work on improvements.

“We have to move on,” he said.

Schools reporter Mark Fagan can be reached at 832-7188. Follow him at Twitter.com/MarkFaganLJW.

Comments

Windemere 3 years, 7 months ago

Post forum thoughts: If Ms Sanburn's comment in the article means there are just some minor wrinkles to work out about SBG, she is wrong. Using SBG as the system of grading above elementary school is a bad idea. Use traditional letter grades (TLG) for 6th grade, reverse the action taken by the administration. Note to those who say : but the 6th grade also gets letter grades! Those are NOT TLG. Those are derived Lord-knows-how, they seem like an afterthought, there is no consistency and they are subject to the same separation of "Learner Behaviors" and other features of SBG. Quite simply, they seem to be a way for the district to pay lip service to letter grading. By all means, USD 497, initiate a system for reporting to parents at conferences how their kids are doing on standards. Then you'll be able to fulfill your desire to give more information about standards. It would not be the "primary" way reporting is done, that would be TLG. Already, TLG is tied to standards (the standards are the material that is taught). Having TLG does not mean we don't have standards.

When TLG is in 6th grade, then all the parent concerns about lack of motivation will disappear (because no longer would the vast majority of students receive "S's" whether they scored 70% or 100%), and parent concerns about lack of emphasis on good work habits would disappear (you see, parents subscribe to the wacky notion that in high school and the real world it causes problems to turn in assigments late, not prepare for tests, not bother to do assigned reading and to expect to have do-overs, i.e. be re-tested on material already covered & tested). And Skyward for 6th graders would then be the helpful Skyward 7th & 8th graders have access to.

No, Ms. Sanburn and others who may believe that we just need to tweak SBG in 6th grade, that is not acceptable. The system of SBG is not as good as TLG in grades past elementary school. To insist it stay in middle schools does a disservice to those students.

Thanks parents and teachers who came out last night!

motoadventure 3 years, 7 months ago

Hours and hours I've sat in meetings looking at student performance on graphs, discussing how best to get these kids to perform better on a standardized test. It's not about the learning anymore, it's about specific performance. Pretty soon they'll be sending a copy of the standards home with each kid.

Just wait, when the Common Core Standards come in 2014 teachers will lose even more control over what they teach.

I feel like the current education system is like a feedlot. Pack 'em in as tightly as possible, feed them foods they wouldn't normally eat to get them up to your standard, and make sure none die before they're shipped out, even if they're obviously sick. Gotta make that Safe Harbor graduation loophole, right Brunnie? And I quote, "Don't make it personal. If you try to help a kid make up work or bring up their grade and they let you down six or seven times, don't make it personal, let them pass."

Their learning is obviously important. rolls eyes

motoadventure 3 years, 7 months ago

Sorry about the off-topic yet related-at-the-core post, but I feel like everything that's been happening in education lately is school-centered, rather, funding-centered, as opposed to student-centered. This move is blatantly school-centered, IMO.

citizenlame 3 years, 7 months ago

Have you actually read the common core standards? It actually shifts control back to the teachers compared to the current state standards which are very very specific. Common core allows students to demonstrate proficiency in more ways than their performance on a standardized tests. KSDE is also currently applying for a waiver for NCLB and creating new data systems that will allow a student's performance to measured in real time, rather than on one day at one time via a test. Please inform yourself.

motoadventure 3 years, 7 months ago

I'm interested to see how real-time testing in a diverse set of ways will work out. Who's going to be taking the measurements in real time? Teachers? The reason they have a one day, one time test is logistically and monetarily based, and that still saw rampant cheating by educators/administrators. (since people here like references, here's one of many: http://yhoo.it/n7kobs)

As for the Common Core State Standards, I hope they do shift the control back to teachers as you say. I have only thumbed through them and had an inservice where we were barely introduced to them, where they were represented and discussed as if they took even more control out of local/state hands, with a cap of 15% being able to be modified by the individual states.

Lastly, the more I became informed about the workings here in Larry, the more I realized I didn't want to work in this district anymore. Good teachers being non-renewed so they wouldn't achieve tenure. Support staff run ragged, earning less than $10/hr, and at such a bare-bones level that there's no way students were getting their services as required. Add to that an administration that values grad levels over all else. The list just went on and on. It was enough to make me step away from my chosen profession for a while.

Windemere 3 years, 7 months ago

To your point, at the root of all of this is No Child Left Behind & its mandates. One must sympathize to an extent with all school districts. These mandates are widely criticized because they result in "teaching to the test" and to devoting fewer resources to things like gifted education, art and music. But yet the mandates are in place. Well, I think we'd all agree that there are SOME changes a district could impose that would help comply with NCLB that would just be unacceptable. That would cause more harm than good, that are ill-adivsed or just plain unfair. Lots of parents think SBG in middle schools is one of those things. It might help some kids reach standards who woudl otherwise wouldn't, but at what cost?? If the district wanted to hire private tutors for each at-risk student at a cost that would blow our district's budget, would we accept it? SBG in middle schools is not that extreme an example, but it is an example of an action that is NOT worth the supposed benefit.

buffalo63 3 years, 7 months ago

When my wife retired, someone asked if she would "miss teaching". Her response was, "I already miss teaching", these last few years (since NCLB started). She didn't feel she was "teaching". Only practicing taking tests too meet standards. She also commented she wanted to get out before she "left a child behind".

Windemere 3 years, 7 months ago

One the face of it, NCLB sounds good. At the time, Pres. Bush delivered what I thought was a great line - he warned against "the soft bigotry of low expectations." (To head off those who will point out that he did not coin that phrase -- I know he didn't write it himself.) The problem in our district today (ironically?) is that there are low expectations and insufficient motivation for a huge number of our students.

fu7il3 3 years, 7 months ago

Maybe I am just stupid, but I don't get the point of standards based grades.

They are essentially just renaming what letter grades mean in the first place. It's a shame we spend more time worrying about what to call their grades than actually teaching them to love to learn.

Our education system in this country is screwed. I'm all for helping the students who are doing poorly, but what about the top of the class that are now easily forgotten by teachers that have to get the lower students up to standards?

We are doing a disservice to the kids who are supposed to be the brightest minds of the future. We are teaching them to regurgitate facts, not to learn. Memorization is not learning, and we are telling them anything is okay, as long as you meet standards.

I don't want my kid to "meet standards." I want my kid to love to learn and to seek out new information. I want my kid to have a drive to succeed above standards. This country was not built on people who met standards.

overthemoon 3 years, 7 months ago

And know what it means to strive to achieve. Time was, an 'A' meant something. As did an 'F'. I think that part of developing self critical thinking is knowing where you stand, deciding whether it matters, and taking actions to succeed in the way you want to. Good old grades gave that sort of feedback to a student. Sure, its tough to get an 'F' and an 'A' doesn't define the whole student, but life is tough and competitive, schools should not shy from teaching kids to deal with that in a positive way.

Windemere 3 years, 7 months ago

You're not stupid. It is confusing. SBG is not just re-named letter grades. SBG is about "showing progress" toward demonstrating proficiency on specific standards that are outlined by grade, by subject. Those letters you hear about - E, T, M, S -- do not correlate to A-F. E is consistently Exceeds standards, T = Targeted for growth, M = Making progress and S = meets standard. Proponents of SBG stress things like: students should only be assessed on what they actually KNOW; they should not be "punished while learning" meaning homework should not be counted; No "learner behaviors" should be considered in created the grade, meaning do not let late work count against the academic grade; do not factor at all in academic grades whether or not students show up to class, whether or not they participate, whether or not they do class preparation like assigned reading for discussion, and even whether or not they cheat ("academic dishonesty"). The only thing that ought to be factored into academic reporting is whether or not, in the teacher's opinion, the student demonstrated proficiency on a given standard. As noted above, this is mainly about districts being able to report that more kids met standards. Peel away those pesky work habits and - voila -- more kids meet standards. Further, because S is BY FAR the most commonly reported grade, and because the next mark, E, is VERY rarely given, many students lack motivation to do their best. Why do my best if I'm only going to get an S anyway? In contrast, traditional letter grades reflect high school and the real world much better. In the real world, having poor work habits tends to reduce the chances of success. Don't we want students to know this in the middle school years? SBG does not effectively convey that message. And motivation is better with TLG. A C+ student is motivated to try for a B and a B+ student is motivated to try for an A. Not so with SBG. Just about everyone gets an S.

Selective_Tourettes 3 years, 7 months ago

Current 6th grader with a 103% in a class received an "S" in that class! Fact!

Windemere 3 years, 7 months ago

Of course, silly. Test scores in the cozy range of 70 to 100+% are an S. To get an E, the student has to, um....Well, "S is the Goal!" as we are reminded so often by the district.

overthemoon 3 years, 7 months ago

mind numbing...both this whole discussion as well as its impact on students. I really see this as a great way to create whole generations of complacent 'satisfactory is good enough' little workers who won't become independent thinking voters and consumers.

Selective_Tourettes 3 years, 7 months ago

Someone made a good point last night that there are two different issues at hand, Standards Based Reporting and Standards Based Grading (teaching). I am more concerned with the Standards Based Teaching. For example...

From O'Conner's (awesome accent by the way, he must know what he's talking about) 15 Fixes for Broken Grades: 1) Don't include student behaviors (effort, participation, adherence to class rules, etc) in grades; include only achievement. 2) Don't reduce markds on "work" submitted late; provide support for the learner. 3) Don't give points for extra credit or use bonus points; seek only evidence that more work has resulted in a higher level of achievement. 4) Don't punish academic dishonesty with reduced grades; apply other consequences and reassess to determine actual level of achievement. 5) Don't consider attendance in grade determination; report avsences seperately. 6) Don't include group scores in grades; use only individual achievement evidence.

I also disagree with another core element of Standards Based Teaching is what I see as an aversion to the use of averages. They want to use the most recent score as evidence of the students mastery of the subject. Well OK, that sounds good but... From Marzano: "Zeros on assignments: If you give a zero on an assignment because the student did not do it, then it generates inaccurate data. This process is intended to measure student learning. When a zero is given for a missed assignment, the zero is not assessing “learning.” Assess responsibility in a different way – life skills, work habits. Don’t penalize kids by giving the zeros for not doing their work."

They want to seperate behavior from "Learning". So cheating, not doing homework, poor grades throughout the marking period and re-taking tests as many times as needed until the predetermined acceptable final or most recent grade (range?) is achieved, that's OK. I know that's an extreme example and I'm certain that we don't have any teachers that would choose that as a standard practice but that scenario is acceptable within the guidelines of SBG.

SBG is OK for little kids but NOT for middle school and up.

Windemere 3 years, 7 months ago

Actually, teachers HAVE been instructed to follow those practices. In the training they received over the summer (I think it was one whole hour) they were given by the administration those same "15 Fixes for Broken Grades" . These are their marching orders, folks. People need to understand that SBG is being implemented by our district in the way its most fervent (some would say extreme & out of the mainstream) advocates want. Also, to your point about SBG vs. SBTeaching, the way the education industry looks at it, there is NO distinction. "Standards" i.e. what they need to be taught, are already in place in grades above 6th grade. But 7 - 12 receives traditional letter grading. It's not that there are no standards. The issue is that the district wants to expand a system that may be OK for elementary into middle schools (and possibly through HS). Having SBG in middle schools is confusing and sends the wrong messages to kids approaching high school years.

fu7il3 3 years, 7 months ago

Apparently, I am too old school.

Part of school is to prepare students for the real world. In the real world, if you cheat or miss deadlines, you are penalized much more severely than just getting a 0. You get fired or possibly arrested, depending on the offense.

What are students learning about life if they get caught cheating and it doesn't count? If they don't get caught, it is obviously going to count to help them.

Windemere 3 years, 7 months ago

Yep. And people wonder what all the fuss is about.

Selective_Tourettes 3 years, 7 months ago

Formative Assessment and Standards Based Grading by Robert J. Marzano (2010)

"Where there is interest in this system, however, there is also quite a bit of poor practice on top of considerable confusion about its defining characteristics." (pg. 17)

"While this system seems like good practice, without giving teachers guidance and support on how to collect and interpret the assessment data with which scores like advanced, proficient, basic, and below basic are assigned, standards-based reporting can be highly inaccurate. Indeed, at the writing of this book, no major study (that we are aware of) has demonstrated that simply grading in a standards-based manner enhances student achievement." (pg. 18)

Selective_Tourettes 3 years, 7 months ago

http://roundrockisd.org/index.aspx?recordid=2606&page=3400

Excerpt as original exceded character count limit:

Posted Date: 10/27/2011

Dear Community Members,

I would like to thank all the community members who have shared their concerns regarding Standards-Based Grading (SBG). From the beginning I have admitted that we should have done a better job of including our Ridgeview Middle School and Round Rock High School parents in the discussions to implement the reporting of SBG...

After much reflection and guidance from the Board of Trustees I have instructed both campuses to stop the entire implementation of SBG. Beginning Monday, Oct. 31 teachers will begin transitioning away from SBG. The transition will conclude no later than Friday, Nov. 4, the last day of the six weeks. We have also asked teachers to review student grades for the past two grading cycles and verify that each assignment offered the opportunity to score a maximum of “100%” and not “90%.” I have asked principals to update their school community on the progress of this endeavor. If you believe your student’s grade does not accurately reflect his/her performance, please contact your child’s teacher and principal.

For future grades, teachers will spend next week preparing grade books to reflect a child’s grade on assignments and not a grade on learning goals. Beginning with the new grading cycle, Nov. 7, you can expect your child’s Home Access account to appear similar to grading prior to SBG. In addition, students will no longer receive rubrics unless it is a project-based or writing assignment...

Sincerely, Dr. Jesús H. Chávez Superintendent

sugarmonkey 3 years, 7 months ago

Dear Selective, thank you for posting this information. I believe someone talked about this example first hand. She commented on how the high schools were seeing problems with students who were used to SBG. Apparently, SBG students didn't understand why high school teachers expected homework to be turned in on time and was reflected their grade. They didn't understand that you cannot take tests over and over and over and over. When are we going to start preparing middle school students for high school.? How silly that the district wants the 6th graders to be completely different than the 7 and 8th graders in the building. Why not just use our traditional grading system and incorporate standards? It's funny---a guy got up and said he contacted 18 out of the 20 schools who use SBG. Apparently, the district didn't have all the info. 16 of those schools don't use it in middle school-only elementary. Maybe they should check their facts.

On another note, at the forum Dr. Doll kept mentioning he wants to help those students who are struggling. I don't think anyone would disagree. We want kids to succeed and we need to help any kid who is struggling. However, it is easy to access progress when you go from a T to an S. However, how do you measure success from a student who meets the standard the first time and wants to go from an S to an E., especially when they are rarely given. THe Central teacher last night said she doesn't even give E's unless the child is above grade level. Isn't that a placement issue? Unfortunately, if you have ever tried to place your student in another class, good luck. It's like pulling teeth! Do students with an s get to take tests over and over to get the outcome they want?

This is an attempt by the district to increase our stats for No Child Left Behind which in reality only helps those students who are struggling and does nothing else for the remaining students. It's not helping the students, it's helping the district's numbers and securing funding. In order to help students, you have to be able to understand clearly the markings for SBG using a clear and concise which the district still has not provided!!!!!!

Windemere 3 years, 7 months ago

Yes, it's troubling that kids who generally achieve in the C+ to A- range are the ones most hurt by SBG. Some kids who are at the very high end of achievement might get "enrichment" (which is a good feature of our district! Appreciated.) or maybe an IEP for gifted. The typical student in middle school is better off with traditional letter grades. Agreed, we all want struggling kids to get help. They ought to get help, but there are too many downsides to SBG. Please help send the message to the Board that SBG should not be our grading system for any child in middle school. (Go to the meeting tonight at 7 pm at Central,or contact the Board members).

Windemere 3 years, 7 months ago

An excerpt from a post by a teacher in Kennewick, WA, where SBG was implemented in middle schools: "...the kids will actually be conditioned to procrastinate and expect multiple chances to get something right. Does this work in real life?.... it is a major threat to foundational American principles like timely and hard work, striving to get something right the first time, and good old fashioned excellence. That’s right – the implicit message of the SBG grading scale in any of its forms is that just meeting the standard is good enough. To hell with excellence! I have never been more embarrassed to be a public school teacher than I am right now."

http://ksdcitizens.org/2011/05/19/standards-based-grading-in-ksd-middle-schools-is-controversial/

citizenlame 3 years, 7 months ago

As for the students that strive for a 'D'?

somedude20 3 years, 7 months ago

Nice picture of Nellie Oleson! Too bad the photographer could not get the brunette behind Nellie in focus

bendover61 3 years, 7 months ago

When are they going to address the overcrowding of the high schools?

citizenlame 3 years, 7 months ago

When they find oil under the high schools.

tophawk87 3 years, 7 months ago

This is why more and more parents are taking their children out of government run schools and putting them in Christian schools and/or home-schooling....

patkindle 3 years, 7 months ago

the schools already get the majority of the property tax collected in douglas county how much more do the need to teach the kids? i realize kids live in a different world today than we did growing up, but this really seems to be a dumbing down of america everyone gets a passing grade no ones feelings are hurt, but it doesnt reward those who want to work hard of course , that is the obama way, and the lawrence liberal way

irvan moore 3 years, 7 months ago

bradford is not sounding sensitive to the teachers or the community, it appears he doesn't care what the taxpayers want or think but it would be nice if he was civil

Armored_One 3 years, 7 months ago

So what is "standard" in terms of how much a child has learned?

How do you measure it, if not with tests?

"Jonny, do you understand that addition and subtraction are different?" "Yes, teacher." "You get an S. Hooray for you!"

Utilize Skyward. It's the most direct tool parents in this district have to gauge what their students are up to. I would personally like a little more information about the assignments that are listed under particular classes, but I suppose that would be a bit much, in terms of data entry for the teachers at this point and time.

A zero on a missed homework assignment teaches one thing above everything else. If you don't try, you get zero out of life. If you don't do your job, you get zero as a paycheck. If you don't maintain your car, you get zero milage out of it. I could go on down tha tlist, but there really isn't much point to it.

There is no definitive examples as to what requirements have to be met to reach each of the standard's levels. Is it based on some sliding scale based on each student, or is there a core amount of information that the student has to demonstrate a reasonable grasp of to qualify?

If only there was a way we could assess the student's grasp of a topic. Perhaps something that could be graded and seen, such as with mathematics, and showing where the mistake occured, whether it was just a simple oversight or a serious lapse in knowledge.

Oh, that's right, we already have that. It's called tests. Let's do away with those and everything will be all better.

How does that line go? Something about the patients running the insane asylum?

chopchop1969 3 years, 7 months ago

The divide grows wider. The trust levels are nearly non-existent. Congratulations... it's lose-lose for everyone. Impressive work, Dr. Doll. Impressive work, School Board. So glad that the Teachers stand up for something as a group... impressive.

Mr. Bradford, in all due respect, EVERYTHING has changed. Open your eyes; what an ignorant statement.

To the kids... well, what can you say but sorry.

weeslicket 3 years, 7 months ago

just to pick this as an example: from selective_tourettes (November 30, 2011 at 11:42 a.m.): "While this system seems like good practice, without giving teachers guidance and support on how to collect and interpret the assessment data with which scores like advanced, proficient, basic, and below basic are assigned, standards-based reporting can be highly inaccurate. Indeed, at the writing of this book, no major study (that we are aware of) has demonstrated that simply grading in a standards-based manner enhances student achievement." (pg. 18)

question: what does the data say about "TLD' ?

3 years, 7 months ago

The educational system in this country is really screwed up right now and that includes Kansas. The so called "educated" are about as smart as a bag of rocks.

They setup this series that you need X credits in science, X credits in math, X credits in ... the list goes on. The issue comes at a point that maybe in large schools students who truly hate science - are able to get around from taking such things as chemistry or biology II or physics. Where as smaller schools who do not have the staff or the number of students to offer a really diverse program force their kids to take the chemistry, biology, and physics.

The issue is - there are absolutely some students who have no business taking such classes, they don't want to, and in doing so you create a problem for the student, a problem for the teacher, and in the end it really is not beneficial to anyone. But "each student needs ..." Part of it ties back to No Child Left Behind. In reality there are a bunch of students who need kicked in their behind and sent back down until they figure out some of the basics.

At the same time classes like music, band, PE, etc, should all be graded on Pass/Fail rather than a letter grade. Reason being - most teachers in the average school really "teach" these subjects. In music it is unlikely the students does much more than sing - no music theory, no history of music, etc. Same in band and PE ... show up and participate. But you get these arrogant teachers who believe no student deserves an A and they are in music, band, etc. One it kills GPAs or you lose participation in those areas becuase of the teacher.

There is a lot to get cleaned up in the education system. Direct students down the course of education that will benefit them the most.

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