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Posted at 10:08 AM ET, 11/19/2010

Va. high school restores Fs

By Washington Post editors

West Potomac High School Principal Cliff Hardison announced Friday morning that he was reversing new grading policies that all but banished the letter F and allowed students caught cheating to retake tests rather than get zeroes.

The change comes after a public outcry among parents and teachers at the school, in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County. Instead of Fs, students in most cases received grades of "I" for "incomplete" in report cards mailed home last week. The cheating policy gave teachers the option of letting students retake tests. Both initiatives now have been rescinded.

Please see the full story by clicking here.

By Washington Post editors  | November 19, 2010; 10:08 AM ET
Categories:  Education  
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I wouldn't give kids carte blanche to fail and cheat as often as they wanted (or as long as they didn't care), because it's important to not only educate our kids it's important to instill the concepts of deadlines/consequences and integrity.

However, God forbid we give KIDS a second chance. We must be sure to throw them on the scrap heap early so it increase the chances they'll be living on the public dole.

Posted by: jeadpt | November 19, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Welcome to America, the land of no personal responsability.

Posted by: Fontana1 | November 19, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

There's a difference between giving a kid a second chance and short-changing them when its time to enter the real world.

Failure to produce (on time and as directed) and meet deadlines, or stealing ideas and document credit from fellow employees - in the real world - will land you on the street or in jail.

Teachers can only do so much when parents are not involved. If students are not encouraged at home, its difficult for even the best teacher to break through the barrier of failure created by the parents.

Posted by: asmith1 | November 19, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

There just needs to be a broader consensus that Fs will not be assigned to students in the first place, and I think the principal has sent that message home to all the faculty.

Posted by: blasmaic | November 19, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

There is a difference between children who struggle with difficult material and score low despite their efforts vs. children who fail to complete assignments or put effort into their schoolwork. The problem with a policy like this is, although it may intend to help the former group, in reality it rewards the latter group without truly addressing the issues of the first group.

No policy decisions on grading practices will eradicate the needs of low-skilled or low-performing students. The fact that this policy was put into place without consensus shows the lack of understanding that administrators and policy makers have about how education works. The teachers are the ones who must use formative assessments to see when students have or have not mastered material, allowing them to re-teach as necessary.

Administrators who recognize the professional expertise of teachers will never face a rebellion like the one I am reading about here. And, yes, I am a professional educator (high school English teacher) with 18 years of public school experience in Virginia and in California.

While this policy was probably well-intended, it was decidedly poorly implemented.

Posted by: cavaca | November 20, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

The policy of giving 'I' for incomplete work was innovative way of holding students responsible for the material and homework.

School demands a lot of time from our students just as it does with our teachers. With 7 classes where work is assigned to students, there is little or no coordination of due dates or flexibility. The teachers can’t always coordinate when assignments are given out for other classes. It would be almost impossible for that coordination to happen. The students have little or no control over due dates making it difficult, if not impossible, to manage their time. If a reasonable alternative exists, why should students be penalized because they don’t learn as fast as other students or aren’t able to complete assignments as quickly as these deadlines demand?

Posted by: kathy42 | November 22, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

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