Grade Policy Must Work for All Students

Dear Mayor De Blasio, Chancellor Carranza and Dr. Chen,

I am a concerned parent of a NYC public school student. I understand the DOE is proposing to use Satisfactory or Needs Improvement (S/N) as the final grade for all K-8th graders and maintain existing grading for high school students.

I am opposed to this grading policy and find it to not only be unfair and inequitable, but that it also violates the concept of “do no harm”. 

Our kids have worked hard and earned grades for the first 6 months of the 9 month school year. To reduce the final grade for the entire year down to S / N is a crude and unfair grading metric.  

This new and simplistic grading does not give the feedback we as parents want on our children’s academic performance. It also does not give credit to our children’s hard work and achievement before schools closed and remote learning commenced. Worse, it doesn’t reward or motivate the learning that must continue in this new remote learning situation. 

On the other hand, students in 9-12th grades should be given the flexibility of dropping their lowest grade in keeping with the “do no harm” approach. We should have compassion towards students who are now struggling with difficult remote learning situations and hardships and be flexible where needed, while simultaneously motivating and encouraging all students to continue to give their best efforts under these new and difficult conditions.

I urge the DOE to reconsider. The No Harm grading proposed by PLACE NYC makes the most sense: keep grading consistent during remote learning and drop the lowest grade in determining their final grade. It is the most fair and flexible approach to grading for all our students.

NYC Public School Parents