North Carolina made some big decisions this week. The governor extended the stay at home order through May 8th and declared there would be no further in-person learning this school year. The kids will finish out the 2019-2020 school year with whatever online learning their schools have managed to coordinate and heaven only knows what things will look like in the fall.
They also sent out the end-of-year grading and promotion guidelines yesterday and I gotta say, I’ve been torn about how these kids would be evaluated during the coronavirus crisis. We’ll start with the positives: Students in K-5 will not receive a final grade; instead, teachers will provide academic and social/emotional feedback about their distance learning time. Students in 6-8 will essentially receive a Pass or Withdraw showing whether they’ve demonstrated mastery of the material. A Withdraw notation does not mean the student failed the course or will have to repeat the grade. High school gets too wordy to describe here but suffice to say they’ve included multiple options for students to choose from including whether to use a numeric grade or Pass/Withdraw, whether distance learning impacts the GPA, and avoiding penalties for Withdraws.
I’ll give them this, they seem to be bending over backwards to make evaluations as fair as possible under the circumstances.
Now let’s talk about what they’re really evaluating right now. Successful distance learning evaluates access to technology and internet, being a self-motivated learning, access to outside learning resources, home environment, parental involvement, and skews toward independent learners. Evaluating work product through distance learning ignores the impact of possible food shortages, emotional trauma, sleep disturbances, and whether that child receives special services at school that have been abruptly cut off.
In other words, there’s a whole heck of a lot more to it than can this kid correctly complete a slope-intercept problem.
Schools around the country seem to be tackling this in different ways. I even heard about a college that just said done and done, everybody gets an A. And really, is that so crazy? The whole world has imploded, people are barricaded in their homes, more than sixteen million people have filed for unemployment benefits, and we really think Brad’s gonna be able to break down the underlying causes of World War II as they relate to world relations today? Doubt it.
Those are my thoughts on the matter anyway. How are they handling school grades in your neck of the woods?
Linda hosts Stream of Consciousness Saturday. This week’s prompt is “val.” Find a word that starts with “val” or if you’re not doing the A to Z Challenge, find a word that just has “val” in it, and use that word any way you’d like. Enjoy!