Physics & Physical Science Demos, Labs, & Projects for High School Teachers

Last Year’s Grades – Statistically Speaking

Posted on: August 31, 2009


report_card2I don’t know about you, but I want the grades in my class to mean something.  I’ve seen so much grade inflation in schools.  It used to be school policy that we weren’t allowed to fail anyone.  Thankfully our new administration is so much smarter than the old one.  I certainly don’t want to fail any students, but if they don’t do the work and don’t try, I don’t have a problem giving them the grade they’ve earned.  Two students didn’t graduate because they failed physics last year.  I think that is a powerful motivator for this year’s students.  I will show them my grades distribution the first day of class.  They can decide how hard they are willing to work.

Here is the spread of my grades from 2008/2009:

  • 7 – A’s
  • 38 – B’s
  • 35 – C’s
  • 8 – D’s
  • 2 – F’s

At some point I will put up a post about grades and how I curve.  I even have a spread sheet program that helps me.

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3 Responses to "Last Year’s Grades – Statistically Speaking"

I like to start the year by telling my class that I’ve never had a student fail physics. Key word of course is Student – one who pays attention, does homework, makes use of class time, and passes everything in.

That’s a good way to put it. The other thought I left off, but I get a fair number of new teachers here, so I will add it: I never fail a student who puts in an honest effort. I had a couple of kids who, by the numbers, probably should have failed last year. But those kids turned in their work, came for tutoring, and tried. I won’t ever let one of those kids fail.

Oh, for sure. Effort will get you through physics. If there are blanks spots in my marking book, where labs or assignments were not passed in, in my mind, those are the marks that the student didn’t get, and I won’t ‘add on’ to what they passed up by not completing work. But generally, the hard workers don’t need the little push at the end anyway.

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I will be picking up the sophomore honors Algebra II class to keep them separate from the juniors. This should help accelerate them and put them on a stronger track towards Calculus. Looks like there will be only one section each of Physics and Calculus, but still two of Robotics & Engineering.

Hot topics this year are going to be the Common-Core Standards, Standards-Based Grading (SBG), improving AP Calculus scores, and somehow adding Python, maybe as a club.

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