Norfolk Public Schools: Who’s in ‘charge’?

8 01 2010

With all this talk of HRT and the apparent want to fire the one ‘responsible,’ I have to wonder… Why not now? I consider problems like those allegedly reported at LaFayette-Winona just as serious as communication failure at HRT. The school board apparently hadn’t heard about this problem until the Pilot started investigating. In fact, the Pilot story states:

“Although state investigators conducted their investigation in September and published their findings on Oct. 14, board members said they first officially heard of testing irregularities from school officials in a Nov. 9 e-mail. That e-mail from the school division informed them that The Pilot was looking into the situation but didn’t provide details”

If the school board hadn’t heard, I would put money down that says the City Council was in the dark as well. Where is the outrage here? Judging by the response to the HRT situation, shouldn’t the school board be calling for the Superintendent’s head? Shouldn’t Council? I will go out on a limb and say its about the money. Sad, i know, that apparently HRT’s money is more important than a school system with integrity. Its only our children. The future of Norfolk and all. In my opinion,  the children that we have in our schools are much more valuable than whatever cost overruns could have occurred with the Tide. As a resident of Norfolk, I feel that the city’s apparent uneven application of accountability should stop. Remember that fellow Norfolkians; the City Council is up for election this year.


Norfolk Public Schools Grading Policy

11 10 2009

I support Norfolk’s new policy, but I must suggest that they present it differently. This new system is very similar to the system that many colleges and private schools use. Let me explain. First, disregard everything that you have heard about their new policy because they don’t know how to explain it right. The reason that they say not to give a zero but instead give a 61 is because the teachers still use a numerical based grading system. Pretend I took 4 tests over the course of the year. My grades are as follows:

  1. 96% – A
  2. 86% – B-
  3. 21% – F (E in Public School)
  4. 100% – A+

The letter grades assigned are based on the grading policy of Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School in Virginia Beach. Based on a numerical grading system, my average would be a 75% or a D+. For all intents and purposes, I was a good student that received A’s and B’s but I had one bad day and now average to a D+. Using a non-numerical, or Letter-based grading system, which is essentially what Norfolk has adopted but has explained terribly, I would average a B-, which is more inline with my overall performance.

Basically, a teacher grades an assignment as he/she would normally do. Instead of recording the numerical grade in the grade book, however, the letter grade would be recorded. The letter grades are then averaged at the end of the semester, similar to how the school figures out Grade Point Averages.  To test this for yourself, I will post the scale below, once again, from BSCHS’s grading policy

  1. A+ :  98-100
  2. A    :  95-97
  3. A-   :  93-94
  4. B+  :  90-92
  5. B     :  87-89
  6. B-   :  85-86
  7. C+  :  82-84
  8. C     :  79-81
  9. C-    :  77-78
  10. D+  :  75-76
  11. D     :  72-74
  12. D-   :  70-71
  13. F     :  69 and below
  1. A+  :  4.3
  2. A     :  4.0
  3. A-   :   3.7
  4. B+   :  3.3
  5. B      :  3.0
  6. B-    :  2.7
  7. C+   :  2.3
  8. C      : 2.0
  9. C-    : 1.7
  10. D+  : 1.3
  11. D     : 1.0
  12. D-   : 0.7
  13. F     : 0

Once its laid out in a simple format, it should be relatively easy to understand why it is definitely a more desirable system. It doesn’t make it so that you can’t fail, it simply make it so that correcting your actions will matter. If a student gets all F’s he/she will still fail. But if that student really decides to correct his/her behavior, it will actually matter. You should be able to see why it didn’t matter before. If you know somewhat that remains misinformed, please enlighten them.