Chandler, Arizona, United States

There's an old saying. If you don't want someone to join a crowd, you ask them, "If everyone were jumping off of a cliff, would you?" Well, I have. So my answer would be "Yes". True story.
Profile continued . . .

Grading in California Schools

Friday, June 27, 2008

this entry brought to you by roni size, "hi potent"

In Texas, where I grew up, we didn't use letter grades. When I moved to California and they used letter grades on the report cards, it was confusing. In Texas we all knew what a letter grade was-- 100-90 was an A, 80-90 was a B, C was 76-80, and D was 70-75. Below 70 is failing, period. So I of course knew roughly what these letters meant when I got tests back, but it still seemed silly to me. I got a B on my math paper. What in the world did that mean? It meant I passed, sure, but what specifically did that mean? It's as if your doctor making you an appointment for "the afternoon". I know what an afternoon is, but it's not a very smart way to go about informing people of things. Exactly how does a teacher average grades on a calculator with a series of letters? Does she just eyeball it and pick the letter that shows up the most?

But what really amazed me about California was that 60-70 was still passing. You could get a 61 on a test and pass it. This absolutely floored me. I've never been an A student. I am kind of a straight C student, with high Bs in classes I cared about. Yet even I, a slacker, felt like if you couldn't get 70 fucking percent, you deserved to fail. And because it was like that our whole lives it didn't even sound special or strict or anything. If you were lazy, you did enough to get a 70. If you couldn't at least get 70, then you were just out-and-out not paying attention and goofing off, or you were retarded and needed to be put in a lower skilled class. It wasn't that fucking hard. I felt like every kid in every class agreed. The stoner slackers in the back of the class drawing mustaches on all the photographs of people in the High Times magazine they were constantly leafing through could pull 70 percent. If you were failing, it's because you weren't even trying. I couldn't wrap my head around a D being 60-70 in California. It seemed like it was for retards. I mean, seriously, 60 is passing? Why not also grade us with happy faces and stormy clouds and things like that?

Then again, perhaps this shouldn't have surprised me. When I first transferred from Texas to California, they needed to grade my levels to see where I was at. The guidance counselor was shocked-- shocked!-- that I was reading above my grade level, and then admitted that he would've been glad if I even read at my grade level at all. But I was a junior in high school. Weren't juniors in high school supposed to read at an 11th grade level? You could see a grin spread across his face, as if he could taste the GPA of his school going up with my gigantic brain running around, reading at a minimum 11th grade level with ease.

My mom is a teacher, and when I transferred over to the California schools, she did too. And naturally, when a kid got less than a passing grade, she would flunk them. What was amazing was that parents would expect their students to be passed anyway, despite the fact that they flunked. They would literally go to the principal and complain about my mother who was so strict she actually gave them the failing grade that they deserved, and I only wish that I was exaggerating when I say this. Other teachers were honestly passing students even when they got failing grades. But a failing grade meant 59% or below. There were students who, for whatever reason, made 59% percent of a grade-- or less!-- and their parents demanded that they be passed anyway. This was perhaps the most astonishing of all, more than the school counselor's bug eyes when he learned I could actually read at the level I was expected to read, more than the fact that I could be asleep in every class and still pass-- were these parents seriously on drugs? How the hell could a parent justify their retard slug gangsta moron getting a fucking 59? What in the hell did you have to do to get failed in these schools, then? Get caught sodomizing another student in class?

with love from CRS @ 5:58 AM 


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