Public Schools Losing the Right to Fail Students
Nobody likes spending an entire semester struggling to understand a difficult course, only to get an “F” and have to retake the class. Well, that is now illegal in some states, including California, Massachusetts, and Texas.
Many middle and high schools around the nation have done away with failing grades. Some schools now give students an “H” grade, which means grades are being held until the student does some sort of make-up work to improve his/her grade. A policy known as “ZAP” (Zeros Aren’t Permitted) is also being used to give students extra time to finish a late assignment.
Is this practice going to improve the education that students receive? Nobody knows yet. Students like this policy because it gives them a chance to continue trying to understand a subject until they grasp it, without the chance of failing a grade and falling behind in their education. However, several case studies have shown that only 16% of students who received an “H” grade passed the class during their second semester.
Michael Petrilli, a researcher at Stanford University, thinks this new grading system will lower education standards and harm the students in the long run.?
“All this does is create cynicism among educators and send signals to students that the education system is not serious about achievement,” Petrilli said.
I personally went to a high school where “Failure Isn’t An Option.” Teachers were not allowed to fail a student, even if the student failed every single assignment. My classmates and I knew this, and we laughed about it. We didn’t see any point to slaving away over a homework assignment or pulling all-nighters for an exam. Why did we need to apply ourselves when we knew we could not fail? Since failue wasn’t an option, we had no incentive to study.
From personal experience at my school, “Failure Isn’t An Option” was a joke among students, I have to agree with Petrilli.