Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Universal Promotion

For years now, schools have been switching to “annualization” of their course offerings. Under this structure, students who fail the first semester of a sequential course (say, English 5 and 6) can get credit for both terms if they pass the second semester. The practical effect of this change is to destroy the work ethic of those students who’ve figured out how to game the system. By their junior and senior years, they know that they can blow off the first term and, with some effort in the second, get credit for the full course. For the schools’ part, annualization obviates the need to create costly, inefficient “off-track” spring sections of sequential courses for students who failed the fall section. This helps cut down drastically on night school and summer school, and also sends graduation rates skyward. Under this flawed model, teachers face inexorable pressure to get their numbers up in the second term, however they can.

Read the rest of Marc Epstein on the promotion practices in New York schools.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just another example of bean counters, focused on counting beans. Where has the passion and intent gone. It's easy to count beans, it's hard to be passionate. We constantly put the wrong people incharge, the bean counters are necessary, but they should be in support rather than management. If all that is concentrated on is quantitative outcomes it always comes at the expense of quality, and often the entire objective is forgotten. Shouldn't we be producing high quality effective graduates, rather than ensuring we have enough people graduate.