Schools Axe Homework, Deadlines in the Name of Equity: Report

by Harold Hutchison


Several schools throughout the country are moving to axe homework and deadlines in an effort to increase equity, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Under the philosophy of “equitable grading,” students are given more chances to show they have mastered a subject, a practice that downplays the importance of homework and eschews deadlines in an attempt to give kids who struggle with hardships at home more opportunities to learn the material, according to the WSJ. Schools in California, Nevada and Connecticut are moving to implement “equitable grading,” though opponents of the system, many teachers and students say it disincentives students and leads to a lack of accountability.

“We’re giving children hope and the opportunity to learn right up until [the class is] officially over,” Michael Rinaldi, the principal at Westhill High School in Stamford, Connecticut, told the outlet.

Clark County School District in Nevada, the fifth-largest school system in the country, has implemented “equitable grading”; however, teachers and students say the practice has led to a lack of accountability and motivation, the WSJ reported. Students are pushing off assignments and missing due dates because “equitable grading” gives them other opportunities to complete it later, teachers told the outlet.

“They’re relying on children having intrinsic motivation, and that is the furthest thing from the truth for this age group,” Laura Jeanne Penrod, a Clark County School District English teacher, told the outlet.

Though “equitable grading” still uses a traditional letter grading scale, student’s grades begin at 49% or 50% in an effort to keep their overall grade point averages (GPA) from tanking too low, the WSJ reported. The grading system does not permit extra credit opportunities for behavior or attendance.

Because of “equitable grading,” students are less incentivized to show up to regular class, instead only attending when a test is being administered, Samuel Hwang, a student at Ed W. Clark High School in Las Vegas, told the WSJ.

“If you go to a job in real life, you can’t pick and choose what tasks you want to do and only do the […] big ones,” Alyson Henderson, a Clark County School District English teacher, told the outlet. “We’re really setting students up for a false sense of reality.”

“Equitable grading” encourages students to realize the importance of the work they are doing, rather than focusing on how the assignment will impact their grade, Erin Spata, a science teacher at a Connecticut high school that adopted the practice, told the WSJ.

“Classrooms are pressure cookers,” Joe Feldman, a former teacher who now helps schools implement “equitable grading” systems, told the WSJ. “They’re now able to relax, say, ‘I can have a bad day,’ and spend more time on things. It changes the way the classroom feels.”

Clark County School District and Rinaldi did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Harold Hutchison is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation. 





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