DISD: We Pass State's “Truth in Grading” Test

With just days to go before school starts, several North Texas districts are debating grading policies in light of a new state law.

The measure calls for "truth in grading" and states that districts cannot require a teacher to give a student a minimum grade for an assignment.

The minimum grade a Dallas Independent School District student can get on a six-week report card is a 50, but the district says it's not breaking any rules by keeping its policy in place.

"Our problem is that if a child is doing at a 20 or doesn't do anything for the six weeks, we still have to give them a 50," said Dianne Reed, DISD teacher and president of the Association of Texas Professional Educators.

Other North Texas districts, such as the Irving Independent School District and the Highland Park Independent School District's K-8, have the same policy.

"The reason behind the policy is to give students a second opportunity to where if they phone it in or don't do any work during one six-week period, not to penalize them during the other six-week period," said Jon Dahlander, DISD spokesman.

The law's use of the word "assignment" is where it gets complicated.

"In that law, it gave teachers the flexibility to give any kind of grade on an assignment, so we've taken that to heart," Dahlander said.

But the thought of giving a student a grade he or she doesn't deserve doesn't sit well with teachers such as Reed.

"It's making me feel bad for him, because it's giving them false hope -- 'Hey man, I got a 50, and I didn't have to do anything,'" she said.

And some parents said they feel the same.

"You got to be accountable for what you do and your actions and the way you perform and your studying and life," said parent Maurice Haywood.

"If they don't do completed work, then they get a zero, and that's the way it should be. And if you do the work and get a hundred, then that's what you should get," said John Sheets, another parent.

Irving ISD and Highland Park ISD said they will revisit their minimum-grading policies once they meet with teachers, administration and parents to get input on what benefits students the most.

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