‘Improved’ Schools: The “Effort Honor Roll” and “Partial Credit” for wrong answers

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 does 2 + 2 = 5?  

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!   

He did what?????

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 know! 

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.  

Scenario #1.  

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.  

Scenario #2.  

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.


38 Responses

  1. Uppity, you are a pearl without price. I laughed all the way through. Reminds me of when the gruesome twosome were in elementary school – I think the oldest was in grade 2, and I looked at her english workbook (I checked all their work). She had been assigned an A+ for a story, but her spelling was atrocious. When I asked the teacher about it, I was advised that she had expressed her ideas very well, and spelling was not important. Needless to say, I was furious. From that day on, we had spelling lessons every night. She laughs about it now, but just last week thanked me profusely because her current job is in marketing, and she has to send letters out to clients daily.

  2. Kim Jong Il wants to “get physical”….not the Olivia Newton John kind…
    (note photo of Hillary 1/2 down the page with the NK guard staring at her through the window)

  3. 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”.

    Will that be happening in standardized tests anytime soon? SAT, LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, GRE? CPA exam? Medical boards? Bar exam?

    Let’s see now. Ya land in the ER with chest pain. Will the ER doc get a multiple choice option on the EKG flashing on the screen, or partial credit for getting part of the rhythm strip correct? Does he get more time to ponder? Or do you die?

    Does the CPA get partial credit for filing your taxes on many different forms partially correct? Or do you get slammed by the irs fully for the boo boo(s), with full v. partial penalties and fines?

    Does the attorney get partial kudos/payment for only partially respresenting you because they forgot to apply some critical facts to your case, and thus left you in a bind still?

    Does the dentist get paid fully for extracting the entire rotten tooth, or just partially for just getting half the crown and a third of the root left behind?

    In the real world, ya can’t limp along. That is what the schools should be emphasizing. Everyone should learn to be on top of their game ALL the time. Some folks do, because the price of failure is just way too high.

  4. Maybe somewhere, someone, will come up with the Effort Honor Roll and have an Effort Hall of Fame.

  5. Towne, great idea about the Effort Hall of Fame. I’m sure that Uppityites can populate that at a moments notice.

  6. FF said she was teaching teens who have difficulty with basic reading, writing and arithmetic. She’ll be along to rant sometime later, as she promised, I’m sure.

    Thank you for starting a new thread. Seeing that chocolate was making me gain weight through the air.

  7. Mom should have the zucchini award. Give them away as prizes, that’ll help you get rid of them!

    Reminds me of a friend who mailed us a trivia question and said the winner with the best answer gets one free kitten, the wrong answers each get two free kittens.

  8. Good idea Karen 🙂
    PMM….here’s your ZUCCHINI AWARD!!!**
    **(not redeemable for cash – non-transferrable)

  9. If I fail at being a decent human being, but I really, really tried, will I get a Zucchini Award. Seems only fair, right? I really, really tried.

    Good grief, perhaps they’ll be awarding budding serial killers with awards, cause they tried.

  10. Let’s start the nominations for inclusion into Towne’s Effort Hall of Fame. I nominate Jon Favreau, for his attempts to appear like an adult. Although he failed, Jon is working on his issues, and will improve when he reaches 35 and is out of work.

  11. HT you don’t even have to grow zucchini to get a ZUCCHINI AWARD……like our POTUS’s Nobel “Peace” Prize…..you only have to TALK about growing zucchini to win!

  12. Barack H. Obama
    The Nobel Prize in Peace 2009 was awarded to Barack H. Obama “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”.

    See? It said for his “EFFORTS”……’nuff said!

  13. Well, then Barack needs to be awarded a Zucchini prize, doesn’t he. He’s never really done anything, but goldarnit, he tried. Perfect recipient.

  14. I definitely think Barry deserves the ZUCCHINI AWARD!

  15. I need to get some sleep, so I will sign off. Take care all you uppitites.

  16. There’s still a huge gender gap in this. Girls have to work twice as hard. We aren’t doing boys any favors though, we’re crippling them to the point of believing that everything should come easy to them. Since life doesn’t work that way, even if you’re a privileged and entitled little guy, it’s really doing them harm. I know my girls really had to work hard to get good grades, my son always got an A for effort. The girl’s always had to struggle at minimum wage jobs, my son can make 20 bucks an hr helping with farm work and construction. After a couple of decades of this, the girls all have their own homes and are pursuing higher education. My son is still trying to figure out how to pay his car insurance. He is exactly that kid that thinks he should get a A for effort and a raise just for showing up some of the time. He’s going to get a clue soon, but it’s a shame that we’re lowering the standards and teaching kids that they don’t have to work for what they want.

  17. yttik, you are not alone in this.

  18. yttik, I agree – absolutely. Girls and females have always had to work twice as hard, and yes, we are not doing the male children any favors, plus we are allowing them to be brainwashed into thinking girls are – well, you know. 52% of the population ignored.

  19. waving to HT.

    NAACP claims they got a death thread. You can hear the audio here. Of course nobody *knows* who the caller is, in this day of call tracing. Just saying.

  20. A picture is worth a thousand words. I’m WAAAAY too tired to write tonight, but I do have a picture at my place to go with Uppity’s post! (GMTA)

  21. Joey! If you are out there – did you feel the ground? 7.3, 7.6, 7.4 near Philippines!

  22. Uppity, waving right back, and I’m so tired, I can’t think straight, however, having too many years to remember in the telecom industry, I find the situation “interesting”. In the old days, we actually had to have a “trap” put on the line in the central office. Today…..not needed.

    FF, you’re too tired, and no wonder. Be well.

    Now FF has me worrying about Joey. Joey, take care, and check in soon so we know you’re safe, sound and okay.

    Now I really am going to try once again to get some sleep – I’ve never taken pills before, but damme this insomnia is driving me crazy.

  23. Oh, before I leave, Upps, I’ve met thousands of people over the years, and I’ve written manuals for techs, marketing types, customer service types.
    You are a person I wish I had met during my career – someone who would have made my life a bit easier – meaning I would not have been the only beatch who was more intelligent than the rest of the boyz club. .

  24. Thank you HT. You might say that I too met more than a few of the boyz you are referring to. And I’m happy to say I outsmarted a few of them too.

  25. HT – I was up with Charlotte at 5 am on Monday after a late night, slept like yuk Wednesday – and was awake at 4 this morning unable to get back to sleep and I have cooked and taught five classes this week

    the zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz’s are fast approaching!

  26. Still here. FF, get some sleep – wish I could.

    Upps, I wish I had outsmarted more – one of the last projects I was in charge of, I tried to close it down many times. Cost the company millions of dollars, cause I was a woman. And it continues. I don’t think that companies realize that women are more attuned to budgetary interests than men in my humble opinion,. Anyway, the project rolled out, because the marketing guys kept up the rah rah, and as mentioned, it cost millions with no revenue stream to offset it. It took two years for the male geniuses to figure out what I had told them – three years previously..
    When men are involved, the project has to succeed regardless, and they continue to believe, until it doesn’t.
    And they label women as the frivolous sex. Bullocks.

  27. Fox just reported that Obama is charging “guests” a $30K “donation” to the DNC to attend his 49th BD party

    what an ego

  28. Oh don’t worry FF. Plenty of captive politicians wouldn’t dare not kick in the 30k. Now you know why they almost HAVE to be dishonest and take money from corporations. They need the bucks to pay off the DCCC, DNC, and Barack Obama. Ditto for their republican counterparts.

    He’ll make a bundle.

  29. Wonders why it is that we are so damned afraid to offend any one these days. Where have all the brass balls gone ? I care not who I offend if I think some one is a dip shit I step up and tell them so. Playing to these dip shit kids and to races as we are is just wrong.
    If you are an ass you can comb the darn hair around it, perfume it but it is still an ass none the less. Bah this country oh hell the world has gone mad. I will not reward stupid and lazy NEVER !

  30. $30k just to go to his birthday party? That’s disgusting. What an ego is right…..narcissism at its finest.

  31. Gosh I hope they get some video of POTUS and FLOTUS exclaiming “Let them eat cake!”.

  32. Utah! Good to see your cranky ole self! I was feeling so alone!

  33. Just got home and am laughing at the zucchini award, imust.

    hope everybody who needs it has a good deep sleep and wakes feeling brand new.

    Jaw dropping that the cheetoes want hillary for president. wow, as sure as we were that we were right and they were dead wrong I never thought in a billion years those arrogant fools would ever admit it. Finally, barackbamboozle is toast.

  34. Uppity due to circumstances beyond my control I have to try to be nice. Looks as if it is not going to be very long then I can get back to having a life. I can be happy once again ……..well sort of I still live in Obamaland and that is going to take some more time at making me miserable.

  35. Zucchini award! ROFL!
    How about Al the groper Gorical- he tried really hard to get us all to believe in global warming!

    We had a day full of thunderstorms yesterday so I disconnected. Then I come in this morning and see New Threads all over! Mid summer break didn’t last very long!

  36. Given the size of his ego, I am surprised BO does not demand at least $49,000 in honor of his own special day.

    We used to get partial credit in school. If you had the correct answer but did not show you work – or your work did not support the answer – you only got partial credit. Thus you could have every answer on a test right but not get 100%. Those darn nuns – they had it backwards!

    I saw somewhere that more woman are coming out of the woodwork with sordid stories on the King of Climate Change. The MSM has been rather quiet on the subject. One such instance served to deflect their lack of coverage of the oil – more are just not as useful.

  37. Or $44,000 for his special place in history.

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