The Dallas school district has decided it cannot grade students by academic benchmarks because, evaluated thusly, the pupils have a tendency to fail. Therefore, the city is shifting to "effort-based" grading, which, according to the Dallas Morning News, is "designed to give students multiple opportunities to demonstrate that they've mastered class material." Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said that the new rules--which the News reports "require teachers to accept late work and prevent them from penalizing students for missed deadlines"--will assist in reducing the district's ninth-grade failure rate; each year, some 20 percent of ninth graders in Dallas's public schools do not advance to become sophomores. "Our mission is not to fail kids," said Hinojosa. Nor, it seems, is Dallas's mission to cultivate responsibility in the students it educates, hold youngsters to high standards, or prepare pupils for a reality in which deadlines exist and one is graded not on effort but on results. We've been through this before with Dallas. Someone needs to save that district from itself.
"Dallas schools plan to ease grading standards angers teachers," by Kent Fischer, Dallas Morning News, August 16, 2008
"Dallas ISD defends changes in grading policy," by Kent Fischer, Dallas Morning News, August 16, 2008