The craziness continues despite the bold stand taken by Linden Dorval in 2012. He is the Edmonton physics teacher who finally said, "No more." He continued to assign 0 as a mark for work not handed in or done. In the real world, this is logical. If you don't do the work, you don't receive payment. You don't receive partial payment or encouragement to "try and get that work done" so we can pay you some time. You get fired.
Once educational policy makers and innovators get an idea and head off on a tangent, they can't seem to return to sensibility. Now the ridiculous grading has surfaced in the Battle River School Division which includes the city of Camrose. Educators have invested time and energy into a system that doesn't give zeroes and goes on to avoid actual percentages. A student scoring between zero and 50 per cent would be at the “beginning” level. A “developing” student is within the 50-66 per cent range, “achieving” is between 67 and 83 per cent and “excelling” ranges from 84-100 per cent. The divisions don't even make sense. How can someone whose actual mark is zero, be "beginning" at the starting line with someone who has 49? This grading will result in reporting nothing. Its biggest injustice is to those serious students who are competing for scholarship, bursaries and placement in our secondary educational institutions. They will not be able to report percentages and may lose out on programs and funding. Scholarships and post secondary institutions depend on marks to decide who will or will not be accepted. As flawed as "raw percentages" may be, everyone understands that 98% is a student who has almost achieved perfection; 84% not so much. Students who want to attend colleges and universities, and earn scholarships understand how hard they have to work. The new system takes this away from them and plunks everyone into four broad categories. It is a mis-directed attempt to continue the feel-good, everyone succeeds fantasy. Kids in kindergarten know without being told- Kevin is good at soccer, Janine is a great runner, Alvin can sing better. Joel is a great drawer.
My fantasy is that one of the "persons" in power and in charge of making these crazy decisions "just says, no." Return to percentages earned. As one grade 11 student said, "“I am so concerned about this new system that if it does not change back to percentages only — that being the recording and reporting in per cents only, no alpha descriptors or four-point-scale conversions — I will have no choice but to pursue my Grade 12 year in another school division. I say this with a heavy heart.”
I wish her luck.
Yes, I'm of a certain age but I'm pretty spry and like to think still smart enough.