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Major California School Districts Adopt Senseless “Equity” Grading System

Major California School Districts Adopt Senseless “Equity” Grading System

Soft bigotry of low expectations.

Last month, my colleague Mike LaChance noted that with an substantial increase in failing grades, likely due to dreadful COVID-learning restrictions, California school districts were planning to rework the grading system to be more…”equitable”.

Now the approach is being adopted my major school districts across the state are adopting the approach.

Bad report cards could soon be a thing of the past in California as some of the state’s largest school districts are dropping “D” and “F” grades.

Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Oakland Unified, Sacramento City Unified and other California districts have decided to limit the use of “Ds” and phased out “Fs” in grading. High schoolers who fail a test or homework assignment can get a do-over or more time to complete the work.

Students who don’t ever finish the assignments or who fail the final exam would earn an “incomplete,” according to EdSource.

The move is called competency-based learning. Advocates argue that assessment should be based on mastery of learning — what students have learned instead of how they test. Supporters also hope it will help kids re-engage after nearly two years of virtual learning during the pandemic.

And while woke administrators are cheering on this approach, many instructors and education professionals have concerns.

Debora Rinehart, a math and science teacher at St. Theresa School, a Catholic school in Oakland, said she thought removing the lower marks was akin to lying to students about their true level of achievement.

‘I will work with any student before or after school or even on the weekend to help them learn. However, I will never lie about their knowledge level,’ she said.

And we should forget there will be unintended consequences. Responsible parents will spend money and time to distinguish their children’s real abilities from those who have been “equitably” assessed.

Parents have previously taken just this route when confronted with the fact that the University of California system will no longer be utilizing standardized testing.

The UC last month said it will no longer require any standardized tests in its admissions process, noting that exams like the SAT and ACT may give a leg up to wealthier students whose families can afford pricey test preparation. But, as Joe reports, some San Francisco Unified families are paying for extra math classes so their kids can take AP Calculus by senior year and potentially have a better chance of getting into the college of their choice.

Finally, this move is distastefully racialist: It smacks of the soft bigotry of low expectations.

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These people are truly insane. Do they think that doing away with grades is going to somehow make the morons magically literate and work-ready?

I guess it’s time to invest in companies that help employers implement their own testing and accreditation schemes. You can’t fix stupid, and you definitely don’t want to hire it.

    artichoke in reply to Paul. | December 16, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    No, but have some sympathy for the property-tax payers who have to fund these schools, even if the schools are no good for their own kids. Still the taxes are due, and the least they can do for the taxpayers is to process the kids out after K-12 without paying for repeated years. Give ’em a diploma and they’re off the taxpayer teat.

      Off the teat? How are they going to get off the teat when they can’t read, write or add?

      No, this is about getting them on the teat and keeping them there for life.

        docduracoat in reply to Paul. | December 16, 2021 at 8:08 pm

        You can bet that private schools are not doing this.
        The school that Gavin Newcom’s’ child attends will test its students.
        All this will do is make the leaders, doctors, lawyers and engineers be graduates of private schools.
        Or of public schools in Israel and China

        artichoke in reply to Paul. | December 16, 2021 at 8:25 pm

        Problem is, they were going there anyway, with very high probability. Our schools are being used as an excuse to blame the lack of education, acquired by the ineducable, on the teachers.

        In Baltimore all the kids are failing classes, and I am sure of two things (1) the standards to pass aren’t very high, and (2) the process costs a lot of money. I conclude that schooling is useless for these people. They MIGHT become productive in modern society with a trade, some of them anyway.

        So educate the educable and don’t get sucked into the endless “no child left behind” vortex with the rest.

      Chicklet in reply to artichoke. | December 16, 2021 at 7:21 pm

      Only technically off the teat.
      With no skills and no knowledge, they will work for the gubmint! Probably join a union too! They’ll have a job for life with that california diploma, but won’t do a thing for us. Maybe they’ll work for the FDA and be assigned the job of preparing the Covid data files- even 75 years won’t be enough. Bah!

        artichoke in reply to Chicklet. | December 16, 2021 at 8:27 pm

        But they were mostly ineducable anyway. We’re spending massive amounts of money already and they aren’t learning. The solution isn’t to blame ourselves and spend even more.

    GWB in reply to Paul. | December 16, 2021 at 2:42 pm

    It’s the same way they think passing laws will make the now illegal actions disappear.

    tmg1262 in reply to Paul. | December 17, 2021 at 8:35 am

    Seriously it has nothing to do with CERT or the kids or anything else that has to do with race. It all Hass to do with the teachers not teaching. Giving themselves an out So they can’t be fired with poor test grades

In the meantime, families who can are quietly moving to states with better educational opportunities for their children. I know many who did; my son’s family was one of them. Across the board ALL of his 5 children’s grades jumped up dramatically after leaving.

California schools are abysmal.

The Friendly Grizzly | December 16, 2021 at 11:28 am

California has ballot initiatives. Propositions. There are local measures as well. It is time to get measures on the ballot to disband school districts.

Failing schools can always find a way to fail better. I wish could remember the exact numbers so this is ballp[ark at best of the fact-checkers. something like 2k schools produces 50% of the dropouts.

Lucifer Morningstar | December 16, 2021 at 11:39 am

High schoolers who fail a test or homework assignment can get a do-over or more time to complete the work.

Students who don’t ever finish the assignments or who fail the final exam would earn an “incomplete,” according to EdSource.

So what will finally happen to these students who never finish the assignments or fail the final exam and earn an “incomplete”. Will they be held back until they finish all assignments acceptably and pass the final exam (not likely) or will they simply be passed onto the next level/class without learning the previous material (more than likely).

In the end this will just result in the California school system(s) graduating students who are unable to read, write, complete basic math. Not sure how they will compete in the world market but here we are and there they are.

Replace D and F with S (Stupid) and M (Moron).

incompetency-based teaching

Kids stop attending public school at about age 18… Ca public school labels mean nothing, to nobody. Never have. Now they are just admitting it.

Students will either be productive members of society or not. Ca is just admitting that its public school system is an absolute failure.

Why bother going to such an institution. Kill time?

It seems California cares only about the new Californians. Surely the school taxes to fund these downward-spiralling schools are high, because these new Americans are extra expensive to try to teach.

It’s an impressive conquest, or shall I say, “reconquista”. It’s possible to get up and leave, but California is some irreplaceable real estate, farmland, shoreline. They’re winning it by driving out the existing people via government.

Just remember: even/particularly in California, medical school diplomas don’t show grade averages; right Doc?

    artichoke in reply to paracelsus. | December 16, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    Med school has always been that way. Very few fail out once admitted. Granted the gates to get in are high, but those gates are now selectively lowered, and yet the grad percentage stays near 100%. The STEP exams do some screening.

Meh. This isn’t just CRT/equity nonsense; that’s only the packaging intended to distract. The deeper issue is that once implemented it disguises performance and impedes a direct comparison v historical performance. How many students failed ten years ago v how many failed this year loses it’s impact by redefinition. Now the students didn’t fail they are merely incomplete.

These students and their Parents will be scapgoats for the school districts. ‘Hey we gave Johnny an incomplete and offered extra time, attention and resources for him to complete the work/revise the test; it’s not the school districts fault this kid didn’t do it, talk to his parents we did all we could.’ Of course the district will phrase it more tactfully. Missing from the excuses is why was Johnny in mainstream classes in the first place if the district knew he could not or would not meet performance standards.

IMO, this is another way that the public education system uses to hide from accountability and transfer blame to everyone else but them and their failed policies.

It’s not ‘senseless’ and the consequences ARE NOT ‘unintended’.

This is them trying to camouflage the fact that the teachers are a bunch of idiot activists and the children ARE NOT being actually educated.

They know goddamn well how terrible their teachers are, and how little the kids are learning, and their ‘solution’ is to lie about it.

Grace inflation has been here for a long time, across the nation. The average high school GPA according to the US Department of Education has risen from 2.68 in 1990 to 3.38 in 2016. 47% of high schools have A averages. The 3.38 is weighted down by druggies and kids with bad attitudes who don’t hand in homework or skip classes frequently. If not for them, the 3.38 average gpa would be much higher.

Grade inflation is everywhere. The average Uber driver is now rated 4.89 out of 5. The average Amazon product has a rating of 4.4 out of 5. Who hasn’t repeatedly bought products on Amazon with amazing reviews, only to discover the product is just average or even mediocre? Same with school ratings, .. the grades have become meaningless.

Ten years from now, they will be belly-aching about how these districts were thrown to the wind as part of a white-supremacist racist plan.

    artichoke in reply to Neo. | December 16, 2021 at 1:37 pm

    If only we can get that done. It’s better than continuing to fund them. There are no other options.

surfcitylawyer | December 16, 2021 at 1:54 pm

Getting rid of grades makes sense ONLY if you go to a “complete these tasks” system before you are promoted. e.g. “Third graders must recite the multiplication table from 1×1 to 9×9 in less than 5 minutes.”

    And I wouldn’t mind seeing this. You get out of a class by demonstrating competency, at whatever time it takes. It’s the biggest reason homeschoolers get so far ahead of their public school ‘contemporaries’ – they advance at their own rate, not the artificially slowed rate of some statistically lowest denominator.

    Yes, you would have to draw some age lines, so you don’t get grade 8 imbeciles beating up the grade 2 nerds on the playground.

      artichoke in reply to GWB. | December 16, 2021 at 8:29 pm

      You could have age segregated playgrounds. But I’d put an age limit on public education entitlement. You can have as much of it as you want until your 19th birthday.

        Antifundamentalist in reply to artichoke. | December 16, 2021 at 9:04 pm

        I would cut that off at the completion of the semester in which you turn 18. After that, you have to enroll in the community college Adult High School Completion Program. If you are old enough to vote, you need to leave the high school campus.

Just to clarify about admissions to California State and UC colleges and universities, they changed the wording on the admissions pages. Earlier, they were pausing using the ACT or SAT until a better test could be created. Now, at UC admissions:
“UC will not consider SAT or ACT test scores when making admissions decisions or awarding scholarships. If you choose to submit test scores as part of your application, they may be used as an alternative method of fulfilling minimum requirements for eligibility or for course placement after you enroll.” Cal State admissions has similar wording.
In other words, go ahead and take calculus or advanced science topics in high school so you can potentially skip introductory. college course work. But, admissions personnel are forbidden to look at test scores for admissions.
How did I come to research this? My son works at one of the UC campuses and told me there was zero equity stuff that would lower standards at the UCs. I begged to differ.

can get a do-over or more time to complete the work
On a grade-level basis, isn’t this called “being held back a grade”?

When I was working closely with a public school they moved the Middle School to “objective based” grading. The big innovation? 4,3,2,1 instead A, B, C, D, F and they based it upon learning objectives (i.e. what grading was already supposed to measure). The district had this grand presentation about how it was so good because…students felt it was more fair.

Yeah, nothing changed in the district. Success rates, discipline issues, etc. remained the same over the next several years. Meanwhile, C students were 2 students, A-B students were 4-3 students and they acted exactly the same.

assessment should be based on mastery of learning — what students have learned instead of how they test

It is unclear how one assesses what a student has learned without testing them.

So California has accepted the Bell Curve hypothesis and codified it?

Just give all Californians a Highschool diploma with a 4.0 GPA upon reaching age 18.

That will be fair and equitable.

California schools used to be great when I was a kid. Now they are bottom tier.

Ah, the racism of low expectations….. because we can’t possibly expect POC to understand things like reading, writing, and arithmetic at the same level as them white folks…..

Antifundamentalist | December 16, 2021 at 8:57 pm

The “can’t fail” thing isn’t new. That’s been around since school funding was first tied to standardized test scores and student progression rates. This is just school systems attempting to further abdicate their obligation to actually educate the students on their rolls – and still get the money.

Jefferson wept.

Merit is the only way that society can determine who is fit to have any modicum of success. Who in their right mind would want to be treated by a doctor who never took and did well in the requisite courses to do so?

Retired On Duty | December 17, 2021 at 9:26 am

This is nothing more than racism in action. Just more proof that liberals are the real racist

CaliforniaJimbo | December 17, 2021 at 2:11 pm

Reminds me of something I read once. The Lord must love morons. He’s made so many of them