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Failing Grade

By Thomas V. DiBacco | June 15, 1994
THE announcement last week by the College Board that it will change the way Scholastic Assessment Tests are scored -- so scores are higher, but test takers no smarter -- is one more reason why this academic rite of passage ought to be given a failing grade. According to the College Board, beginning in April 1995, the scores will be raised to give students a better idea of what their scores mean. But students need no additional insight into the scores; before they ever sit for the exam, they know precisely the ranges that various institutions expect for admission.
August 25, 2014
This week, youngsters across Maryland will board the "big yellow cheese wagon," as it's sometimes called, and head back to school. And chances are high (aside perhaps from those teary-eyed moms and dads waving good-bye to their kindergartners for the first time), the school bus commute from home to classroom will take place without incident. But the latest survey conducted by the Maryland State Department of Education shows that the students' fate is being tempted on a regular basis by drivers who seem either unaware of the law or unwilling to follow it. Drivers are forbidden to pass a bus in either direction when its stop arm swings out and its lights are flashing, yet that happens all the time.
Practice for the fall sports season began at high schools throughout the county Wednesday, absent many players who are academically ineligible under a tougher policy that takes effect for the coming school year. One failing grade in the last quarter of the previous school year made nearly a third of Harford County's more than 12,000 high school students ineligible for athletics, drama, chorus or any other extracurricular activity. "The most shocking thing is that 29 percent of our students have failed a class," said school board member Lee Merrell.
July 17, 2014
I think the new curriculum is not good at all ( "MSA warning signs," July 15). As a country, we focus more on test and test scores than we actually do on teaching these kids. The old ways of doing things were better and way more effective. We should adapt with the time without compromising our children's education - meaning add on instead of taking away or switching up. Also, those making these decisions should not be people who never stepped foot in a classroom as a teacher.
By Monica Norton and Monica Norton,Staff Writer | August 19, 1992
In one semester last year, Shannon Henderson failed two courses at Annapolis High School. By the end of the next semester, however, she had replaced those grades with A's with the support of her basketball coach and teammates.Yet under the school board's recent decision to raise the minimum grade point average for student athletes she wouldn't be able to get that help, she and others complained at a board meeting Monday night."My coach made me strive for something," Shannon said. "She encouraged me. She helped me a lot."
By Tom Pelton and Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF | November 24, 2003
Baltimore's major subsidized housing program for the poor continues to fail to meet federal standards but has improved its record keeping and trimmed its administrative costs since a scathing audit in 2001 said the program was "barely functional." The city housing authority sent out an upbeat news release last week promoting its success in reaching a "milestone" Nov. 10 when Bill Tamburrino, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development's local director of public housing programs, wrote a letter closing out some problems raised by the March 2001 audit.
By Howard Libit and Howard Libit,SUN STAFF | July 26, 1996
Warning that students may be discouraged from taking challenging classes, Howard County's PTA leadership recommended last night the rejection of the most restrictive of proposed changes to the academic eligibility policy for high school sports and other extracurricular activities.The PTA Council joined a football coach and former athlete in asking the county school board to reject the proposal, which would prohibit students who participate in any extracurricular activity from having any failing grades.
By Howard Libit and Howard Libit,SUN STAFF | August 16, 1996
As Howard County high school athletes hit the practice fields for the first time early yesterday morning, they had something more daunting to talk about than new pass plays: proposed new academic eligibility standards that would be the toughest in the Baltimore area."
By McClatchy-Tribune | April 29, 2007
DURHAM, N.C. -- In the largest cheating scandal in the history of Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, 34 MBA students face serious penalties after university officials determined they collaborated on answers for an exam. Nine students face expulsion, said Mike Hemmerich, an associate dean at the business school. Fifteen will receive a one-year suspension from the school along with a failing grade in the course. Nine will get a failing grade in the course, and one student received a failing grade for the exam.
By Monica Norton and Monica Norton,Staff Writer | October 22, 1992
Dozens of Anne Arundel County residents gave their mixed views to the school board last night on its controversial new policy requiring a minimum 2.0 grade-point average for students participating in sports.Although virtually every speaker favored the 2.0 policy, most raised objections to its full implementation when the school year began in late August, without public input, rather than the standards being raised gradually.The long procession of speakers delayed the board's plan to vote on possible changes in its new academic standards, including whether to apply the minimum-grade standards to all extracurricular activities, allow students to carry one failing grade, or reducing the period of time in which students would be barred from competitive sports until a failing grade is improved.
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | May 27, 2014
Baltimore's harbor earned a failing grade for water quality in the latest assessment of its ecological health, despite fewer reported sewage overflows last year. Though the harbor's overall grade for 2013, to be released Wednesday, is down from a C-minus the year before, the city's signature water body didn't actually get more polluted last year, according to organizers of the Healthy Harbor campaign. Instead, the harbor campaigners said they've just decided to stop grading on a curve and deliver a more straightforward assessment - that it's far from safe to swim or splash around in the trash- and sewage-fouled upper reaches of the Patapsco River.
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | November 10, 2013
On Sunday afternoon, CBS Sports delivered a telecast of the Ravens' 20-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals that was worthy of prime time. In fact, the first half was as good a half of NFL TV coverage as I have seen all year -- and that includes my adoration of “NBC Sunday Night Football.” For those readers who are about to faint at the notion of me praising CBS Sports so lavishly, all I can say is facts are facts. And the fact is CBS delivered the goods Sunday. And don't worry, I'm not going to get totally carried and ignore all the ways analyst Dan Dierdorf still annoyed me. I'll get to him later.
By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun | April 5, 2012
Bryce Dabbs and Drew Snider don't really know each other. But if the midfielders for the Navy and Maryland men's lacrosse teams had a chance to sit and talk, they might be surprised at how similar their journeys have been. Dabbs, a junior for the Midshipmen, played sparingly as a freshman and then had his sophomore year wiped out after being ruled academically ineligible. Snider, a senior for the Terps , was almost cut as a freshman. When No. 17 Navy (5-4) and No. 11 Maryland (5-3)
June 23, 2011
As a retired educator with 35 years of service, I can only describe the job evaluation criteria outlined by the Maryland Council for Educator Effectiveness with 50 percent of a teacher's rating to be based on student performance as absolutely asinine ("Md. to rate teachers on student progress," June 21). The evaluation system approved by the council contains little in the way of uniform standards. For example, teachers who are assigned to schools located in poor areas and dealing with students living with high unemployment rates, broken homes, youth gangs and many other unfavorable conditions which would naturally breed a nonchalant attitude toward the value of an education, will likely result in students who score poorly on standardized tests.
By Steve Schuster | February 16, 2011
Five of the seven county intersections considered failing during rush hour are in the Towson area, but county officials say commuters used to congestion at those intersections shouldn't expect relief anytime soon. Last month, a memo from county traffic and public works officials offered a 2011 update on the list of F-rated intersections in the county -- and included familiar sites in the Towson area. The seven are: York Road and Burke Avenue, Towson.
September 27, 2010
Like a good teacher refusing to grade on a curve, the U.S. Environment Protection Agency handed out some failing grades last week to Chesapeake Bay states whose cleanup plans are woefully inadequate. Hallelujah. If the EPA's heightened involvement in the Chesapeake Bay is going to turn the tide on water quality, the agency can't be seen backing down now. The low scores given to Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia should send a message that the environmental excuses of the past are the equivalent of dogs eating homework.
By Monica Norton and Monica Norton,Staff Writer | October 20, 1992
County school board members want a comprehensive plan to improve the performance of black, male high school students, nearly two-thirds of whom have less than a "C" average.Members said yesterday they will ask Superintendent C. Berry Carter II to develop the plan when the board meets tomorrow to review a new policy that requires students participating in sports to carry a 2.0 grade point average."We have basically put our head in the sand," board member Thomas J. Twombly said. "There is no reason for us to be failing a significant portion of our students.
By Monica Norton and Monica Norton,Staff Writer | August 6, 1992
The Board of Education voted yesterday to increase the minimum grade point average required for students participating sports but not for those in other extracurricular activities.New board members Michael Pace and Joseph Foster and student board member Jay Witcher joined Jo Ann Tollenger, Thomas Twombly and Maureen Carr-York in voting to raise the minimum GPA from 1.6 to 2.0, beginning with the winter sport season.Under the new policy, no student with a failing grade would be allowed to play sports.
By Liz Bowie | | February 19, 2010
In a sometimes contentious hearing before Baltimore County's legislative delegation, school Superintendent Joe A. Hairston pledged that he would not make a controversial grading program mandatory. The pledge came during a joint hearing Thursday in Annapolis during which delegates criticized Hairston for failings in communication with parents, teachers and the public over what they said was a major policy mistake. After the school system announced in December that it would make the grading system mandatory in just weeks, teachers vocally opposed the Articulated Instruction Module as time-consuming and redundant.
By Greg Garland and Greg Garland,sun reporter | April 29, 2008
Reform of child welfare systems in Maryland and several other states is hampered by "misguided and secretive policies" that restrict disclosure of information about deaths and serious injuries resulting from abuse or neglect, according to a report to be released today by two national child advocacy groups. Maryland was among 10 states that received an "F" grade because they "place confidentiality above the welfare" of children. The report by the University of San Diego School of Law's Children's Advocacy Institute and Washington- based First Star argues for greater transparency so child welfare systems can be held accountable and future tragedies can be averted.
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