Good grief

[HT: Mark Richards] A Pittsburgh school district has set 50% as a student’s minimum grade.

Pittsburgh Public Schools officials say they want to give struggling children a chance, but the district is raising eyebrows with a policy that sets 50 percent as the minimum score a student can receive for assignments, tests and other work. …

“A failing grade is a failing grade,” district spokeswoman Ebony Pugh said.

At the same time, they said, the 50 percent minimum gives children a chance to catch up and a reason to keep trying. If a student gets a 20 percent in a class for the first marking period, Ms. Pugh said, he or she would need a 100 percent during the second marking period just to squeak through the semester.

It gets better …

Superintendent James Lombardo said he’s in favor of implementing the idea, partly as a fairness issue. He noted that a failing grade carries far more mathematical weight than any other grade if the “E” or “F” has a range of zero to 59 percent.

“I guess I laud the Pittsburgh district for recognizing some of the foibles of our numerical system,” he said, adding low percentage scores sometimes are given to students because of their attitude or work ethic, rather than their level of accomplishment.

I guess if one were to be kind, this would be considered a nudge as opposed to a scheme that weighed early assessment lower as a means of providing a catch-up opportunity or for allowing a low assessment grade to be discontinued. That said, it doesn’t say much about the numeracy component of the education program.

2 thoughts on “Good grief”

  1. The argument seems fair enough to me. There’s no reason why a mark less than 50% is a ‘fail’. Nor is it clear to me that the difference between a paper not submitted (0%) and a lousy load-of-crap (40-45%, usually) is the same as the difference between a lousy-load-of-crap and a high quality paper (80-90%.)

    Effectively, they’re marking out of 50, with marks less than 10 as a fail. What’s wrong with that? The only oddity is adding 50 to all those marks, but it’s not clear to me why that’s any less odd than our system.


  2. Given the demand function QdX = 500 – 25PX, estimate the price and quantity demanded for x at the point where point elasticity of demand for x would be 1


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