Monday, March 2, 2009
Pittsburgh Public Schools has changed its 50% minimum grading procedure. The policy, which was put in place years ago, recently came under fire when the district’s administrative office stepped up efforts to enforce the policy. The policy states that teachers are to give a grade of 50% even if a student’s actual score is lower. The goal is to give students a chance to recover from a bad grade and to not demoralize a student to the point that they will no longer put forth an effort. However, some teachers expressed concern that some students were opting to receive a 50% in lieu of turning in assignments or taking tests. Based on the recommendation of a committee of teachers, principals, staff and leadership of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, the district has now adopted a policy where students who refuse to do work have a zero as their recorded percentage. In a press release the district says, “Any student putting forth a legitimate effort but earning a percentage less than 50% will have the assignment graded as an “E” and recorded at 50%.” For all assignments, the actual percentage earned will be communicated to students and parents. The amended procedure is effective immediately. Superintendent Mark Roosevelt says, “This amended procedure balances the need to make it mathematically possible for students to bring up their grades during a nine week period, while making them aware that we expect them at all times to put forth their best effort on assignments,” He says he District stands by the core principles that led to implementation of the 50% minimum grading procedure.