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Stranger Than Fiction: Cheaters and Incompletes?
posted by: Cindy Omlin | November 19, 2010, 07:36 PM   


Earlier in the school year, the school eliminated the mark for "failure", instead supplying failing students with the letter "I" for incomplete and establishing a policy that would allow students who cheated on exams the chance to make up the test with these "I" grades. What is the significance? For starters, the "I" grade allow students to redeem themselves throughout the year by catching up with coursework and ultimately receiving new marks at the end of the term.

Is this a strategy to help struggling kids or is this just another example of coddling underachievers and spreading the message that timeliness and success are not linked? After all, certain students could end up with the same grade as a student who earned an "A" on time and without an incomplete and a grace period.

Mary Mathewson, an English teacher at Potomac High is not impressed with the new system, "Kids are under the impression they can do it whenever they want to, and it's not that big of a deal." She argues that taking away the failing mark "takes away one of the very few tools [they] have to get kids to learn", eliminating any sense of responsibility or urgency.

On parents ponders, "What about the conscientious student who keeps up with class, studies until 2 a.m. and pulls an A on a math test? Should a peer who skipped class and flubbed the test twice or three times get an equal grade? With the new policy, the ultimate grade on a student transcript could be the same, even though the two students took very different paths."

Despite strong opposition, administrators are standing by the new policy. "If we really want students to know and do the work, why would we give them an F and move on?" said Peter Noonan, assistant superintendent for instructional services." . . . I think the students who are struggling should not be penalized for not learning at the same rate as their peers."

Administrators are however back pedaling on the cheating controversy, allowing individual teachers to set their own policies.

AAE's Tracey Bailey, director of education policy, commented on the story last evening on the local Fox news. Click here for the segment. 

As an educator, what do you think of this system? Will it help students in the long run or set a dangerous precedent?
Comment below.
Originally posted by Alix at AAE.

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