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High expectations for schools

Published: April 22, 2013
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Every time there's a discrepancy between student test scores and student grades, a teacher has failed. Student learning is the ultimate goal of education, and one of the primary roles of teachers is to accurately assess and report that learning. When exceptional learning has taken place, a student should be rewarded with an exceptional grade. And it should be expected that test scores would be equally exceptional. When learning has been inadequate, failure should result in both grades and test scores. Differences in grades and test scores should be investigated by school administrators and boards of education for corrective action.

“District ends grade-change practice” (News, April 17) reported that Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Karl Springer, without any reported investigation or action by the Oklahoma City Board of Education, stopped the practice of awarding a passing grade to students who had failed a course of instruction but passed the matching end-of-instruction examination. In announcing his decision, Springer said, “We want to make it clear we have high expectations for our students.” Expectations of what? Since a student has demonstrated adequate learning, even though the teacher failed to recognize and report that learning, what's expected of a student at a high level?

Rather than this statement of high expectations for students, a statement of high expectations for teachers seems more appropriate. Perhaps the board of education could take on the challenge.

William Edwards, Oklahoma City