Let’s talk interventions. The policy states that
- Teachers have 15 grades per 6 weeks, no less than 2 classwork/homework per week.
- Expectations and all grading made explicit through rubrics
- Parents are called/notified before a zero or incomplete is recorded in the grade book
- Students are given two days to make up an assignment or test after an absence with no penalty
- Students are given at least one opportunity to make up late work not related to an absence. (Grade penalties and the amount of time allowed to complete are determined by department)
- Students are given five school days to retake any test that the student failed
So what does this mean? Student will get MANY opportunities to make up work. If you have more than 20% of your students failing you will have to prove that you gave the above interventions to your students. This doesn’t really impact the kids that do not come to school and make up work, because they will not get credit anyways, this impacts the kids that come to school, but do not do anything in class. Now consequences for not doing working in class are limited because they can do it the next week, during tutoring, or at home and bring it in. Students will learn that that have second and third attempts to get their work in. I have no problem with this for the student that is trying and truly working to do better. The issue is with the student that does not want to work in class, distracts others, but then comes in after school to get their work done. How are we teaching them responsibility? Again, we are making student failures the responsibility of the teacher. That is not the case in the real world or in college. I rarely got second or third attempts at an assignment. I couldn’t make up my participation grade in office hours. You have to be on it the first time. How are we preparing are students to be college and career ready if we do not expect them to complete their work on time? And selfish or not, I do not want to stay after school every day or come in on Saturday for the students that will not work in class.
On my campus we got into a large debate about what is the purpose of the policy. Are we supporting students or we trying to make it harder to fail students. Is this the way of getting teachers to not fail as many students? We can't really put systems in place that force students to do more work but we can load up the work we give teachers. It is honestly probably a combination of both. The problem is this is not a real solution. This a band-aid. If a lot of students are failing and failure rates are increasing, there is a larger issue going on. That means we need to address the real issue and determine why are students not passing. When I pass the problem child this year, they become the child problem for the teacher next year, until they are the worlds problem.
On the other side I have seen many teachers give 1-2 grades a six weeks. Students have no idea how they are doing in a class, and then at the end of the six weeks they either fail or do not. That is not fair to a student and that is not right. Students need to know how they are doing in your class. Feedback is such a huge piece of the learning cycle. If a student has not received back one assignment in a six weeks how are they supposed to know where they need to grow and what they are doing will in. Similarly, if they do not think anything is graded or matters, they definitely are not going to work in your class.
I have always passed out missing assignments sheets in class every 3 weeks. Students want that. They want to know what their assignments are, what they got, and what they are missing. I can only think of one or two time in three years where I have passed out a grade sheet and a student DID NOT ask for their missing assignments. Students do care. It is about supporting our students and giving them opportunities to be successful. I do not disagree with everything in the policy, I actually agree with a lot of it. The parts that frustrate me are the providing so many opportunities to students that fail because they do not work and the need for teachers to document EVERYTHING THEY DO. Sometimes it feels like 90% of this job is documentation.
So yes we need policies to ensure teachers grade fairly, enter grades weekly, and notify students, but that was there. We had to have 3 grades a 6 weeks, we have to explain what we did in class to support students, and we had to pass out 3 week grades reports. Rather than making teachers put together a circus show of interventions, why not enforce the policies we had in place before. There is a difference between supporting a students and spoon feeding them. We don’t give our students the answers in class because we want to them to learn, we want our instruction to be rigorous. Well we are not creating a rigorous school environment if students can’t fail.
DISD Teachers documentation requirements