Community responds to MFISD grading system changes

 

 

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Editor's Note: The following letter addressed to the MFISD board and administration was shared with The Highlander by the parents of a student.

Grading system 'steals' strides of hard working students
Dr. Allen and members of the MFISD board,
We are writing in response to the so called “do no harm approach” sent out this week. 
Our daughter, a junior, with two dual credit classes and an AP class, adjusted, overcame, persevered, worked with teachers, classmates and with us, her parents to learn on line, to utilize Zoom meetings and other new formats to successfully complete her junior year. She watched hours  of lectures in video, she recorded herself for classwork requirements, she tested on line, submitted assignments on line...all with the understanding that the harder she worked and the more she applied herself the better her chances of improving her class rank and her GPA-which are common goals for a junior who is about to apply for colleges. She stayed home, she didn’t go to the lake and run around and ignore her course work like many of her peers. She had a goal, she knew if she disciplined herself she would reap the benefits of moving up in her class rank and improve her chances of acceptance at the colleges with which she hopes to gain acceptance.

The “do no harm approach” caters to the lowest common denominator. How do we expect our students to learn to adapt and to flourish, under any circumstances, when this sort of model is presented to them after the fact?
In the working world a person is compensated for their time and effort, just as you are-and the harder one works the greater the compensation. The same holds true for a student when working toward better grades, GPA and class rank. The school tests and tests and pushes students to take advanced classes, and now after the quarter is closed - you intend to steal their compensation away from them? You are penalizing the “do-ers” and “achievers” who not only want to learn but also expect to be compensated for the proof of their learning.
What do you propose will occur the next time students are put in this situation? The “do not harm approach” will be followed by a “do not care approach” from the students.
We propose averaging scores for 3 quarters for those who don’t want the fourth quarter included. But for those who have gone above and beyond, and need those fourth quarter grades “do no harm” DOES do harm. 
We expect a better approach from our school district and its leaders in the COVID19 situation. Your decision as it stands is not acceptable.

Signed,
Randy and Valerie Hibler

 

Student: Grading not fair to those who excelled

Dear Editor,

I am a rising Junior at Marble Falls High School, and I recently recovered from COVID-19. After I contracted the novel coronavirus, I worked tirelessly to finish the year with high grades. That is why I, along with many of my classmates, was devastated to learn that MFHS has decided not to include students' fourth-quarter grades in their GPAs.

To be clear, the administration's heart is in the right place. Marble Falls ISD implemented a policy that would avoid punishing students who lack the internet access and economic resources that make it possible to succeed in online classes. Yet an unfortunate consequence of this decision is that students who excelled were deprived of their hard-earned grades. For those students, the issue is not school rank or GPA, but fairness. Our school asked us to bring our discipline and work ethic to a new academic reality, and we did. Now, we ask that our school uphold its end of the bargain.

When I first contracted COVID-19, I was drained of all energy and experienced terrible headaches. My teachers were incredibly sympathetic, offering every accommodation. Yet I declined their offers and dragged myself out of bed every morning to class. I hoped to demonstrate my gratitude. They showed up for us; I wanted to show up for them.

I am not giving these details to pat myself on the back. COVID was rough, but is nothing compared to food insecurity or family instability. Students facing these challenges should not be disadvantaged. I simply ask that MFISD adopt the policy of schools like Pearland and Cypress Fairbanks. who offer students the option of counting their 4th-quarter grades toward their GPA. This policy solution would accommodate students facing impossible circumstances while rewarding those who were able to show up and do well.

Sincerely,
Zoe Stedman

Marble Falls

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