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A’s on the rise in U.S. report cards, but SAT scores founder

USA Today – Greg Toppo

“The good news on America’s report cards: More high school teachers are handing out A’s. But the bad news is that students aren’t necessarily learning more. Recent findings show that the proportion of high school seniors graduating with an A average — that includes an A-minus or A-plus — has grown sharply over the past generation, even as average SAT scores have fallen. In 1998, it was 38.9%. By last year, it had grown to 47%. That’s right: Nearly half of America’s Class of 2016 are A students. Meanwhile, their average SAT score fell from 1,026 to 1,002 on a 1,600-point scale — suggesting that those A’s on report cards might be fool’s gold.”(more)

A-level maths standards down on 1960s but not on 1990s

BBC – Staff Writer

“Students who achieve a B in A-level maths today would only have secured an E in the 1960s, suggests research. However standards have been stable since the 1990s, with no evidence of any further fall since then, says the Loughborough University paper. The researchers compared the level of mathematical knowledge needed to tackle today’s maths A-level papers with those from the 1960s and 1990s. The government said its reforms would help tackle grade inflation in England. The authors say their work, published in the British Educational Research Journal amounts to one of the most comprehensive studies into A-level standards.”(more)

Mom wanted her daughter to flunk, but the school wouldn’t back her up

The Washington Post – Jay Mathews

“A Fairfax County mother has been telling me about her bewilderment at her bright but school-hating daughter’s passing English even though her second-quarter and third-quarter grades were F’s and she skipped the final exam. Having encountered earlier report card mysteries, the parent e-mailed all of her daughter’s teachers June 10, asking that she be given the marks she deserved. That didn’t happen, but at least the English teacher on July 9 sent her an honest explanation of why the frequently absent student got an A for the fourth quarter and scraped by with a final course grade of D.”(more)

Teacher assails practice of giving passing grades to failing students

The Washington Post – Jay Mathews

“Caleb Stewart Rossiter, a college professor and policy analyst, decided to try teaching math in the D.C. schools. He was given a pre-calculus class with 38 seniors at H.D. Woodson High School. When he discovered that half of them could not handle even second-grade problems, he sought out the teachers who had awarded the passing grades of D in Algebra II, a course that they needed to take his high-level class. There are many bewildering stories like this in Rossiter’s new book, “Ain’t Nobody Be Learnin’ Nothin’: The Fraud and the Fix for High-Poverty Schools,” the best account of public education in the nation’s capital I have ever read. It will take me three columns to do justice to his revelations about what is being done to the District’s most distracted and least productive students. Teachers will tell you it is a no-no to ask other teachers why they committed grading malpractice. Rossiter didn’t care. Three of the five teachers he sought had left the high-turnover D.C. system, but the two he found were so candid I still can’t get their words out of my mind.”(more)

More A’s in English classes? Not easier material or grade inflation but more open-ended discussion

The Atlanta Journal Constitution – Maureen Downey

“A Get Schooled entry this week poses the question, Are students avoiding STEM courses because the grading is tougher than English or history classes? The essay concludes that grade inflation has made English and history classes easier, while math, science, engineering, and technology courses have maintained their rigor and hold students’ feet to the fire with greater consistency.”(more)

Education leaders study Florida A-F system – Mackenzie Mays

“State education leaders are exploring Florida’s school accountability model, which assigns individual schools grades of A through F and is based primarily on student performance.”(more)