Chelai Johnson is a Prince George’s County parent. The views expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Prince George’s County Advocates for Better Schools.
by Chelai Johnson
I applaud Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) for being proactive and convening a project team to assess current grading procedures and policies. A lot of thought and research was put forth by the team. However, there are two recommendations that concern me.
Recommendation #4: Teachers must give grades of no less than 50% on all assignments for good faith effort.
To get credit for putting forth effort is a good thought when kids have struggled. But, as a parent, I would like to think that my children put forth effort in all work, as that’s the expectation my husband and I set in our home. On the other hand, as a parent, I will never know my children’s true level of mastering a subject area if I don’t have access to their true grade. How can they put forth more effort if we don’t know the true effort that was made in the first place?
This leads me to Recommendation #1: Teachers will assign a quarter grade of no less than 50% for quarters one, two and three.
If a student’s grades are not reflective of 50%, why act as if they earned higher averages? Student grades should reflect what they earn. The key word is earned. If I were to decide to obtain a tutor to assist my children or tap into other avenues of assistance, it’s difficult to mark progression with a minimum of 50% implemented. Moving from a 20% to 50% shows a level of early mastery. But the way PGCPS presents the grade, you won’t see progression at the lower levels of mastery, from quarter to quarter. Even though 20% is low, 20 to 50 is a large jump that should not be discounted.
Although there are two recommendations that I oppose, there are two that I support strongly:
Recommendation #7: Students shall have one additional opportunity to improve their score on a qualifying assessment/project which demonstrates knowledge of course content, skills and standards.