New York Post: They’re remaking the grade. The city Department of Education wants schools to rethink honor rolls and class rankings because they’re “detrimental” to some kids, according to a new grading guidance.
“Recognizing student excellence via honor rolls and class rank can be detrimental to learners who find it more difficult to reach academic success, often for reasons beyond their control,” the document states. The DOE wants schools to widen recognitions to include “contributions to the school or wider community, and demonstrations of social justice and integrity.”
“Grades are not only a reflection of student performance but can be self-fulfilling prophecies,” the document states. “Influencing future student performance either directly through their psychological impact or indirectly through instructional decisions, placement in courses, and guidance in post secondary options.”
The DOE wants more emphasis on evidence of progress and the mastery of individual “learning goals” rather than the cumulative quality of assignments and tests. If a new exam score shows improvement, the DOE advises teachers to disregard or lessen the influence of the prior showing. “Rather than just averaging the two assessments, replacing the score or part of the score is a more valid measurement of student achievement,” the guidance states.
I don't want to sound too much like an old man yelling at a cloud about how "all we do is give out participation trophies" and "this generation is so soft" yada yada yada. But parts of this story are just flat out ridiculous. Basically the NYC Department of Educations wants schools to do away with honor rolls and class rankings because they're discouraging for the kids who do poorly in school. Instead, they want grades to be focused on improvement and achieving "learning goals."
Pardon my French, but this is freaking ridiculous! You cannot get rid of honor rolls and class rankings just to make some kids feel better. Not everyone is good in school. That's okay. But we can't just redo how we evaluate students so the kids who are bad at school feel better about themselves.
The main thing is that this is extremely unfair to the kids who are good at school. Getting good grades, making the honor roll, and having a high class rank are huge achievements that students should be proud of. How are you going to tell those kids getting straight A's that they can't get any recognition for those accomplishments anymore? And also how it would affect getting into colleges? How are colleges supposed to differentiate the good students from the bad students and decide who they want to let into their university? Not to mention that there's also an effort to ban SATs and ACTs. Are colleges just going to be picking accepted students out of a fucking hat?
Also, I do think honor rolls and class rankings can serve as good motivation to make kids want to do better in school. What's the reason to do better in school if it's not going to be rewarded? These little shits are going to get complacent!
And if this is the case where we ignore merit, then can I just walk onto the football team? What if I say it's "detrimental" to my confidence that I get cut? Both being good at football and being good in school are skills that get rewarded with good performance. You can't just completely get rid of merit based accomplishments.
To be fair, I think that some parts of this proposal aren't all bad. If a student does show big improvement from one test to another and can prove they're learning and getting better, it does suck that one bad performance can tank their GPA. Maybe your overall grade can be more wholistic. But......
The guidance also reiterated that “non-mastery” measures like behavior, attendance, and participation should not impact grades.
So then what the fuck are grades getting based on????? Not based on tests. Not based on behaving in class. Not based on participating. Not even based on just showing up???? Insanity.
And sure is there a chance I'm just mad about all this because I was a nerd who was good in school and don't want that taken away from me? Perhaps.
I'll leave you with this joke I made on TikTok a couple weeks ago that everyone on the Internet responded to very calmly and didn't get offended by at all.