Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Schools graded on a curve

Parents and community members regard an "A" as indicative of 90% achievement. Older parents and community members might remember having to perform at 94% to earn their "A"s.

They will be surprised to find out that NM schools only needed to earn 75 points out of 100, 75%, to be given an "A". The whole grading rubric was changed to make it look like schools are doing better than the really are.

A 75-100%
B 60- 74.9%
C 50-59.9%
D 37.5-49.9%
F < 37.5%
The whole idea behind creating an A through F grading system, was that parents and community members understand what A, B, C, D and F mean.

I asked Governor Susana Martinez and Education Secretary Hanna Skandera to justify what appears to be a lowering of the bar for schools. Their response was couched in statistical jargon; more about how they did it than, why?

I should have qualified my question by asking that they explain the overly lenient curve in words that students can understand.

I found their explanation deeply unsatisfying, and not just because it was so hard to understand. I suspect the people will not be satisfied either; if they find ever out.

The NM PED pulled a fast one and the people will never hear about it. None of the legacy news outlets I searched, seems to have noticed the double standard for students and their schools.

Or, they see the double standard and choose to not investigate and report upon it.

Either way, the wool has been pulled over the people's eyes.

Interesting aside; The wool refers to a powdered wig.
To pull the wool down over a man's eyes is to temporarily blind him.
It is an Americanism, dating to the 1830s.

photo Mark Bralley

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