- With six marking periods, the need for interim (5 week) reports is gone. We are suggested to send progress reports home, but its not required.
- With six marking periods, kids will have a better chance of being successful (each marking period counts less).
We also have the restriction that no report card grades lower than a 50% can be given. Even if a student has hardly shown up to class and has an average in the single digits earns a report card grade of 50%. This is also to increase incentive for later in the year. If a student has a 50% for a marking period or two, its not that difficult for them to still pass.
Many people are frustrated with this policy. I get it. Some students honestly work and earn a 55%, or even a 50%. What do our grades mean? And what are we grading?
This has given me a lot of room for thought on what we are grading. I think there is a place, in a way, for this. Students do still need room to be successful. They can't go back and redo the earlier work, really, but if they are to pass a final exam they will still need to learn a lot of the content. The final exam counts 25% of their grade for the course. Many times, if they just squeak by, they don't pass the final. But this policy gives them incentive to keep working for the rest of the year. They don't give up, because they feel they can still pass. It doesn't seem quite fair, but what is the alternative.
Does your school have a similar policy? What do you think about a minimum grade? Do you agree or disagree.
Many of the students in the district where I teach have a very difficult marking period because they have family members in jail, or they have to move because they have gotten evicted, etc. How can they maintain the expectations of a "student" all the time? Is that a reasonable expectation on our part?
When I was a first year teacher, and very frustrated over state test scores, another teacher who had been in the district a long time talked to me about how "they may just need to take the class twice to pass, they are learning a lot, but maybe need to see it again." That has echoed in my head many times. As frustrating as it is, we (and our students) sometimes need to take a longer range/bigger picture view, particularly in the face of adversity, and keep plugging away towards a goal, realizing that we have a long way to go and a lot setting us back.