Standards Based Grading and Failure in the Ninth Grade

I’ve been considering transitioning to Standards Based Grading for the coming year and am almost certain I’m headed that way. With that on my mind, a teacher friend shared this article “Why Ninth Grade is the Pivotal Grade for Dropping out of High School”. In it, the author interviews Camille Farrington a researcher who said, that after failing ninth graders have an impossible hill to climb:

” But even those who vowed to buckle down and try hard, they found that even if they kept apace from then forward, the fact that they had these zeros kept getting averaged in. They weren’t able to shake the past failures, and it became impossible to dig themselves out of the hole.”

Is that what 9th grade should be? A life long punishment for not getting with an archaic system on day one? A system that you don’t know or understand how important your success is? I don’t think so – the stakes are just too high. It’s also another reason to make sure I transition to SBG for next year.

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