Saturday, October 15, 2011

What's Wrong With Pass Or Fail?

What's wrong with pass or fail? Win or Lose?

That's life baby.

Not keeping score during a game doesn't mean there isn't a team that played better, harder, "winninger." Saying a paper that the entire first semester is devoted to, and must be done in order to graduate from high school, is not a pass or fail but rather "meets standards" or "does not meet standards," doesn't mean it's impossible to fail.

Because if you aren't going to graduate from high school without this paper meeting standards, then it really seems like it is a pass or fail situation.

I do not want my kids to fail, or to feel bad if they don't make the team, but I do not want them to miss those feelings....I'm a firm believer that those feelings help you strive to be better.

And it about makes me go crazy to have to listen to an hour long informational meeting with teachers and fellow parents on THE scholarly paper of our students junior year, and have the teachers consistently say pass or fail, but then correct themselves.

Oh, sorry. We don't mean pass or fail. We mean meets standards or does not meet standards. And if they don't meet standards, well, they have 4 times to try again. And this paper that most of the first semester of junior lit is based on is a must for the senior project, and like building blocks, it is essential for graduation. But it's not a pass or fail idea. And to make everyone feel better, we eliminated the "above standards" category.

Now there is nothing to work towards. My kids can "meet standards" in their sleep. And yes, that is me bragging. I may not have a starting quarterback (thank goodness because I am not a football fan), but I do have kids who can write a brilliant paper with ease.

It seems to me that if the paper is so important, that the semester grade, the senior project, and even graduation, hinge on it, there should be a better grading system than just meeting standards or not.

But, I've sort of promised not to make any more teachers cry, so I'm just going to suck it up, smile and nod. That's also part of life baby, and sometimes it's harder to deal with than losing.

1 comment:

  1. Now I feel bad for all the stars/checks I gave to kids!