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University of California Considers Ending Letter Grade System Due to ‘Bias and Inequities’

University of California Considers Ending Letter Grade System Due to ‘Bias and Inequities’

“Traditional assessment and grading practices may perpetuate bias and inequities”

Isn’t this insulting to the people they claim they’re trying to help?

Campus Reform reports:

University of California system weighs ending letter grades due to ‘bias and inequities’

The University of California (UC) is weighing alternatives to the conventional letter grade system in the interest of solving “bias and inequities.”

A Mar. 16 memo from the public university system’s Office of the President asks the Academic and Student Affairs Committee to consider “more effective options for advancing achievement and educational equity” than “traditional grading practices.”

The document points to UC campuses that are testing “pass/no pass” grading models.

While UC Irvine’s Division of the Academic Senate extended the deadline to opt for “pass/no pass” grading to the tenth week of instruction, UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry is planning a “pass/no pass” model for first-year students, according to the document.

The memo casts doubt upon the assumption that students who earn A’s “have mastered the material, while students at the bottom may have not,” and alleges that students from an under-resourced high school perform poorly on initial assessments, but may master the final.

“That student will always have a lower grade overall because of their preparation starting point, compared to another student from a well-resourced high school that started strong and does as well on that final, but has never progressed in the course,” the memo states.

A “Summary Table of Assessment Adaptations” included in the document offers various ways to heighten “equity” surrounding certain exams. While an open-note or open-book test can “ask questions that have students make connections to their own experiences,” weekly quizzes can allow “multiple attempts” and collaboration exams become a “community-building experience.”

“Traditional assessment and grading practices may perpetuate bias and inequities,” the memo concluded, “and the University of California is engaged in a number of efforts to advance initiatives that promote grading with equity, including those that improve and reward mastery of subject matter in a course.”

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Comments

harleycowboy | May 4, 2022 at 10:11 am

Do you want a heart Dr. that “passed” or graduated with straight A’s?

Jack Klompus | May 4, 2022 at 10:23 am

In other words, the unqualified students we keep admitting to keep this gravy train racket going are proving incapable of doing work at this level.

Trigger warnings. Bias response teams. Buildings and institutions bearing the names of evil white men.

Education is riddled with racism, sexism and other forms of evil. Let’s just do away with it completely.

henrybowman | May 4, 2022 at 2:21 pm

What horseshit.

“The memo casts doubt upon the assumption that students who earn A’s “have mastered the material, while students at the bottom may have not”

Well, that just contradicts 400 years of educational doctrine and experience. What’s next — a new discovery that gravity makes stuff fall up?

“That student will always have a lower grade overall because of their preparation starting point, compared to another student from a well-resourced high school that started strong and does as well on that final, but has never progressed in the course”

Who gives a shit? The final grade reflects that the student knows the material — not that he didn’t know it when he got there but learned it there.

During my college years, three of the unrelated courses I took had a “learn Boolean algebra” unit. You can’t learn something three times, you learn it once and then ace the other two tests just by showing up. So what?

    randian in reply to henrybowman. | May 4, 2022 at 5:11 pm

    A whole unit allocated to Boolean algebra? That’s half a day max to learn.

      henrybowman in reply to randian. | May 5, 2022 at 2:31 am

      “Unit” probably has some official meaning to professional teachers — I’m not one. I used the term to mean, “here’s an organized sub-branch of math you need to learn for this course, there will be a quiz.”

After 35 years of searching they finally discovered one smart student who received poor grades. “Oh my,” they said, “this casts doubt upon the assumption that students who earn A’s have mastered the material, while students at the bottom may have not,”

“We must change the system so that no one will know which is which.”

Albigensian | May 4, 2022 at 9:45 pm

Is it necessary to say it?

when they had been running half an hour or so, and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly called out `The race is over!’ and they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, `But who has won?’

This question the Dodo could not answer without a great deal of thought, and it sat for a long time with one finger pressed upon its forehead (the position in which you usually see Shakespeare, in the pictures of him), while the rest waited in silence. At last the Dodo said, `EVERYBODY has won, and all must have prizes.’

`But who is to give the prizes?’ quite a chorus of voices asked …

This is just one more attempt to cover up the schools’ incompetence. They are trying to cover up the fact that that they’ve been failing to educate their minority students adequately. So they want to do away with any objective assessment that would allow someone to see what a poor job they’ve been doing.

    MajorWood in reply to OldProf2. | May 5, 2022 at 3:09 pm

    Actually, to me, it is cultural incompetence. Show me a kid who doesn’t know how to read before he gets to school and I’ll show you a kid who is going to be behind all of their life. I am from a culture that values education, and there is very little probability (I changed it from “no way”) that anyone not from that, or a similar, culture will be able to compete. Until a particular culture changes its values which seem to celebrate failure, they will never succeed. If your parents were career criminals, then there is a pretty good chance that you will end up as a criminal. If your parents placed watching the Blazers on the TV vs reading a book with you as a priority, well, good luck with that down the road. Show me a parent who blames the school and I will show you a parent who needs to hold up a mirror to find the real source of the problem. Yes, my son is privileged because he had parents who read to him, just as I was privileged by having parents who read to me and had me enrolled in a half dozen book clubs where a new book showed up in the mail every few days, because THAT was their priority in life. As my dad taught us, “look at what poor people do and then do the opposite.” I say this because 20 years ago when we were closing out my father’s estate, a friend from high school showed up, and she was delighted that for some reason all of the books from my youth had been saved, which I gave to her because she said it was impossible to find anything decent for kids to read even back then. I can only imagine the “woke” stuff that is coming out now.

    To summarize, I don’t blame the schools completely, because in many cases they weren’t given much to work with. It is a combination of a bad hand which was then played poorly, and one can only bluff for so long. Even in poker, there be some math.

Another Voice | May 5, 2022 at 2:26 pm

What does this do for the hopeful PHD student when applying to Grad School? Do you think the student worked 5 years + for an acceptance report? Where are the transcripts coming from when they are required documents to Grad School and the school does not subscribe or accept “He/She attended Class” diplomas? Such a disservice! Such Bull Shit!!

    Pepsi_Freak in reply to Another Voice. | May 7, 2022 at 10:23 pm

    Well, it is California after all. What did you expect?

    One side benefit may be that degrees from California “institutions” (read “day-care”) will be considered by the rest of the world to have no credibility.

A Punk Named Yunk | May 5, 2022 at 3:53 pm

> University of California Considers Ending Letter Grade System ..

> “pass/no pass” grading models
Note – too afraid,, No, too sensitive to call a failure a failure.

If I were hiring new graduates, I would automatically reject grads of UC; I don’t want a near failure with a 66% average working on my bridge design. Obviously, a degree in Gender Studies or (as Ben Shapiro loves to quote) Lesbian Dance Theory (does such a degree actually exist?) would hit the shredder faster than s**t out of a goose!

Take a look at Michelle’s work while at Princeton. That will tell you all you need to know. Did Obama write anything while attending Columbia/Harvard? Pass/Fail system already implemented.

I say, “Put your money where your mouth is.” Back this up with 1/3 liability for the school for any student loan default. After all isn’t it Racist to saddle minorities with debt they have a poorer than average chance of repaying by failing to give them an accurate assessment of capabilities to do college work ASAP. By the way, I’d suggest the same for any institution offering “basket weaving” majors, for the same reason.