Grantham Letter

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 27, 2008

Mathematics teacher puzzled over new math in school district grading policy

Now… I have been a mathematics teacher for forty years and the “equation” that the South Panola School District is planning to use for the upcoming year is confusing to me and probably several other educators.

First… I noticed there would be no nine-weeks tests. Now how can teachers know how well students retain their subject matter if not tested cumulatively? It is easy to teach one skill… and then test that particular skill… but how long will that skill be retained by this new method? Having a test which covers more skills is just a must! It’s like mowing the yard… only once… now that you have done it… never have to mow it again.

Secondly… the method of counting the first nine weeks three times, the second nine weeks three times, and then adding the exam and dividing by seven. Now you do not have to be a veteran mathematics teacher to know that 1/7= .1428571… which is not the 15% mentioned in the paper! This method will require “some type” of rounding… and there are several.

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No I could handle this…BUT… what about young beginning teachers… and one wonders why so many are choosing to leave my “chosen” profession.

Lastly… the “ten-point” grading system…. which gives the student 11 opportunities to make an “A”… 10 opportunities to make a “B”…. 10 opportunities to make a “C”… five opportunities to make a “D” and then below 64 would be considering failing. I was under the impression that there should be less “A’s” than “D’s”. Being a member of the honor society is a unique privilege…not just another club.

Thanks for listening/reading my thoughts. I refuse to believe that things at school have changed that drastically.

Rebecca S. Grantham

Mathematics instructor