NYC High School's Grading Policies Mask Failing Kids

Thursday, Oct 13, 2011  |  Updated 1:06 PM EDT
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School's Grading Policies Mask Failing Kids

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A city school that has been receiving up to $2 million a year to transform itself has implemented grading policies designed to boost grades and pass students who are actually failing their classes, according to the New York Post.

Administrators at Washington Irving High School in Manhattan have approved new grading policies that give failing kids credits toward graduation, the Post reports.

The high school is one of 12 city schools that were chosen to get federal grants of up to $2 million a year for three years to "transform."

But the school's new policies appear to actually encourage students to slack off.

The rules, written out in documents obtained by the Post, allow students who get failing scores of 50 to 55 in class to "automatically" get 15 extra points if they pass a Regents exam. Kids who score a minimum 65 on the Regents "should receive a passing grade" in the class. The same practice forced a Bronx principal to resign, the Post says.

A final grade will of 60 to 64 "will be changed automatically" to a passing 65, the documents also show. And students who fail a class "will be assigned... a work product not to exceed five pages" or "alternative project."

David Bloomfield, an education professor at Brooklyn College, told the Post such policies make a mockery of "real learning and subject mastery."

"This is simply a phony process for getting kids undeserved credits," he said.

The city Department of Education told the Post officials will review the school's grading practices.

Washington Irving High School barely escaped a shutdown by claiming a dramatic boost in its four-year graduation rate, the Post said. It reported a 55 percent rate last year, which was still below the citywide average of 63 percent but up from a "dismal" 38.3 percent the year before.

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