In the American School’s never-ending quest to ensure that simply every child gets a trophy as often as possible– even if he or she has learned nothing useful– has finally reached the level of comedy.
Let me introduce you to the new and improved Partial Credit trend that has been put in place in New York, where the graduation rates are increasingly dismal, even with a dumbed down environment. We all remember partial credit for things like essay answers, right? Well guess what? In New York students can now receive partial credit just for writing something down on the paper in answer to an objective question. You get partial credit, and in some cases FULL credit, just for “showing your work”. Better yet, you can write NOTHING down and still get credit! It’s a recipe for success, don’t you agree?
When you’re taking the state math test.
Despite promises that the exams — which determine whether students advance to the next grade — would not be dumbed down this year, students got “partial credit” for wrong answers after failing to correctly add, subtract, multiply and divide. Some got credit for no answer at all.
“They were giving credit for blatantly wrong things,” said an outraged Brooklyn teacher who was among those hired to score the fourth-grade test.
No kidding. I didn’t make that up. A kid can actually advance to the next grade on partial credit.
In fact, here are some examples of the new New York State “holisitic rubrics” grading system, incorporated into the new State “guidelines” for standarized state tests, the results of which help to determine whether the student has learned enough to move on to the next grade. Yes, you read that right.
* A kid who answers that a 2-foot-long skateboard is 48 inches long gets half-credit for adding 24 and 24 instead of the correct 12 plus 12.
* A miscalculation that 28 divided by 14 equals 4 instead of 2 is “partially correct” if the student uses the right method to verify the wrong answer.
* Setting up a division problem to find one-fifth of $400, but not solving the problem — and leaving the answer blank — gets half-credit.
* A kid who subtracts 57 cents from three quarters for the right change and comes up with 15 cents instead of 18 cents still gets half-credit.
* A student who figures the numbers of books in 35 boxes of 10 gets half-credit despite messed-up multiplication that yields the wrong answer, 150 instead of 350.
In other words, the student got the answer wrong. Dead Wrong. Then, the Holistic Rubric-ing teacher gave the student credit for the answer. If you get enough wrong answers under this system, you “Pass”! Super! This certainly WILL ultimately lead to an increase in the number of graduating students in New York, even if they don’t know how to add. Or write. Or do much of anything. But you have to admit that “Holistic Rubrics” is a really catchy phrase. It conjures up thoughts of the Rubik’s Cube, so it must be something really good. Departments of Education are really good at coming up with catchy program names that impress everyone but either achieve nothing at all or, worse, do more damage than good.
Mom #1: My son is involved in the Holistic Rubrics program at school!
Mom #2: Wow! That sounds important. Like Rubik’s Cube! Geniuses solve Rubik’s Cubes! How come MY son isn’t in that program too!
Just think: Using this system, it’s conceivable that a child could make it all the way through High School without ever getting an answer right. Isn’t that great???
Think about that for a minute. I’ll wait.
……….cleaning up after the head explosions…..
Don’t take this so seriously! After all, these students can always go on to a Partial Credit College! Later they can get a Partial Credit job!
I mean,why burden these kids with reality when you have Holistic Rubrics, even if there is no such thing as Holistic Rubrics in the real world. Employers don’t reward people for “partially” getting their jobs done right. In fact, employers tend to fire employees who don’t do their jobs right. But let’s not let that stop “Holistic Rubrics” from carrying on. And don’t be blaming the teachers for this ludicrous brain fart either. This is Department of Education work. Just so you know:
The Brooklyn teacher said she and peers who had trained to score the tests were stunned at some instructions.
“Everybody in the room was upset,” she said.
The teacher had scored tests with some “controversial questions” for several years, but “this time it was more outrageous,” she said. “You feel like you’re being forced to cheat.”
Scorers joked about giving points to kids who wrote their names, brought a pencil or shared gum.
Yes! Cheat! Do whatever it takes to give that kid a trophy and keep him as dumbed down and unable to enter the real world as possible!
Say, I have an idea! How about giving a kid credit for not showing up for the standardized test? If he didn’t show up, but he meant to show up and just didn’t make it, he did his “best”. He had a basic understanding that he was supposed to show up and take the test. I say, let’s pass him! Yeah!
Okay,that’s settled. So now that we are giving kids partial credit for just showing up for the test and writing any old thing (or nothing at all) on the paper, let’s see…..how can we parlay that into the thing we love the most: A trophy. Hmmmmmmmmmmm. Let me think….
I present to you the Effort Honor Roll.
Yes, that’s right. If a student has mediocre performance, he gets on an honor roll just for trying his best.
Here’s how it works: You failed the subject, really. But we gave you Partial Credit. You are not a very good student. But at least you are consistent! We also think you are a very nice and polite person and we don’t want to make you feel badly about the fact that you aren’t a very good student who should probably be taking some skills classes so you can enter the world and make a decent living. But we won’t make you do that. No sir. In our estimation you are doing the best you can and this is pretty much as good as we’re going to get from you. We just don’t think, in OUR estimation, that you will get any better at this. Don’t you feel better? Good! So, we want to give you this trophy for trying, and we want to confirm to you that you will probably never do much better, so no need to try! It’s who you are! Don’t ever change! Congratulations! You’re on the Effort Honor Roll! Don’t you feel even better now???
Ashland Elementary School in Cumberland, R.I., says that the Effort Honor Roll is to honor consistently outstanding effort at school. These efforts include “consistently exhibits politeness, kindness and respect toward others” and “consistently works to best of ability.”
If that best of your ability is a C – but it’s a consistent C – you still win!
Okay, the truth is, not everybody is a potential brain surgeon, even though there are more parents who think their kids are potential brain surgeons than there are potential brain surgeons. But………….
………Can you imagine an employer looking over your application and asking:
Manager: Could you tell me what the Effort Honor Roll is?
Applicant: Oh that’s a reward for doing the best I can even though I barely passed.
Manager: Super! I want to hire you! I am always looking for employees who can’t do the job. It’s what I live for.
Help me out here please. Could someone explain to me how and Effort Honor Roll or Partial Credit for wrong answers prepare a student for the real world? In the real world, employers don’t give trophies and awards out for effort alone. They expect results. Sometimes In the real world, a person may even have to pass a test for employment. You don’t get the job because you put your best effort into the test. There is no partial credit in the real world.
HR Rep: You didn’t do very well on the test.
Applicant: But I showed my work!
HR Rep: Super! You’re just what we’re looking for. A person who can’t get it right but does the best he can! We love mistakes!
Even if the job you apply for doesn’t require a test of audacious higher-level skills such as reading, or adding and subtracting, if you get the job, there will be no partial credit for your job performance, unless you consider an unemployment check as partial credit.
Manager: This report is not complete. And your math is all wrong.
Employee: I know, but I did do most of it and I did it all to the best of my ability.
Manager: (incredulous stare).
Employee: Could you tell me when I can expect a raise?
Boss: Just as soon as Haley’s Comet rolls around again.
Manager: You missed two days of work last week and was late once.
Employee: I know but I was here most of the time! I tried!
Manager: You are expected to be here.
Employee: I’m doing my best.
Manager: (incredulous stare)
I know a number of people who retired and have been called by their former employers asking them if they would consider returning to work.
I simply cannot understand why. Can you?
Now why do you think this is happening? Don’t worry about your answer. Even if it’s wrong, it’s right.