Cape grading policy must change

August 18, 2023

The Cape Henlopen School District board is considering a change to its grading policy for students. For the last several years, district students were given a minimum score on their report cards regardless of their actual performance in the classroom. Under the current policy, even students who do absolutely no work receive a grade of 50. 

As kids are wont to do, they quickly found a way to game the system. Students whose only goal was to pass a certain class or all classes learned that they only needed to put the work in until they were guaranteed a passing grade for the school year; then they could phone it in the rest of the time. 

Recognizing this, school district officials are considering modifying the policy to remove the minimum-grade policy for two of the four marking periods. It will be discussed and possibly voted on at the school board’s next meeting Thursday, Aug. 24, and if passed, put into practice for the 2023-24 school year. 

But we don’t think that’s enough. Since when are students rewarded for lack of effort? Students should receive the grade they earn. If they choose to do no work, they should receive a zero. And leaving the minimum grade in place for two marking periods likely means some students will still find a way to cheat the system. 

If the goal is to teach students, and prepare them for college and the real world, things need to change. Students must be engaged in the curriculum every day of the year. They need to know that if they ignore teachers’ assignments, their grades will suffer. 

The school board should recognize that school is a place of learning, and if students are passing while also failing, there’s something seriously wrong. We encourage members of the school board to reconsider the grading policy to ensure all students receive a grade reflective of their effort.

  • Editorials are considered and written by Cape Gazette Editorial Board members, including Publisher Chris Rausch, Editor Jen Ellingsworth, News Editor Nick Roth and reporters Ron MacArthur and Chris Flood. 

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