View Full Version : NYC: This school makes it nearly impossible to fail

The Bobster
07-12-2016, 06:25 PM

This school makes it nearly impossible to fail
By Carl Campanile
July 12, 2016 | 9:17pm

It’s hard to fail at one Queens school — where the minimum grade for course work has been set at 55 even for students who skip quizzes and homework.

The high failing floor at top-rated Marie Curie MS 158Q in Bayside is a lifeline for students who tank some exams but can eke out 70s or 80s on other tests to pull up their overall grade to 65, the minimum needed to pass.

And the policy is not unique to Curie. The Department of Educations says schools are allowed to set their own standards when it comes to establishing the lowest grade a teacher can give.

Educators said the thinking behind the policy is that a student who gets a very low score on a single exam or assignment — such as a zero for not doing the work — has almost no way to reach a 65 passing mark.

But one Marie Curie staffer called that an excuse for grade inflation.

“Fifty five is the lowest score we are allowed to write on a student’s exam — even if the student actually scored a 20, 25, 35, 40, etc . . . This is egregious fraudulent grade inflation and the public should be made aware of this fraud,” the teacher, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Post.

“We are directed by the APs [assistant principals] to not mark missed homework with a zero . . Unbelievable!” the teacher added.

Officials said there is a longstanding policy of giving schools discretion dating back to 2011 under the Bloomberg administration.

A DOE spokesman said 55 is a “common” minimum failing course grade, but could not immediately specify how many middle schools have a “non-zero” grading policy.

Other sources said the 55 minimum grade is practiced in many high schools as well as middle schools.

There’s been a national furor over so-called mandatory minimum grading. Teachers revolted when Dallas and other Texas school districts barred them from issuing a grade lower than a 50. In response, the Texas Legislature in 2010 passed a “truth-in-grading” law barring minimum grades.

Thomas Guskey, a University of Kentucky professor who has studied grading policies, said a zero-to-100 system is outdated. :rolleyes:

“A zero is an extreme score,” he said. “You have to have nine perfect papers to recover from a zero.”

But Michael Petrilli, president of the Thomas Fordham Foundation, an education think tank, says a 55 minium sends the wrong message.

“This is ridiculous,” Petrilli said. “This is yet another way of dumbing down the standards and passing students along. Kids are going to figure this out. This will make it harder for teachers.”