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Letters to the editor, June 7

Students losing ground

In 2009, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 2033 — the school district grading policy. This bill requires classroom teachers to “assign a grade that reflects the students’ ... mastery of an assignment.”

The teacher may “... not assign a minimum grade for an assignment without regard to the student’s quality of work.” “Actual grades on assignments ...” should be used in determining semester grades. (Robert Scott, commissioner of education).

Surely, if a student doesn’t do the assignment, the student should earn a grade of zero, not the “MSG” grade book code assigned for “work not turned it at all.”

ISSUU-Denton ISD to change grading system states: “Do our grading practices build confidence in our students’ beliefs that they can learn?” “Focus on the common understanding that grades should only convey what a student knows and is able to do as related to ... academic standards.”

Current data clearly documents that American students are losing ground academically in key areas of math, science and reading, ranking in the 20s and 40s, below top-ranked Finland and even Estonia.

Conversely, our students rank in first place internationally among developed nations in “self confidence.”

Unfortunately, self confidence/high self-esteem without real knowledge is just arrogance. Our current system does, indeed, “build confidence.”

Upon hearing of the DISD’s new grading policy, a friend offered the following comment: “Oh, honey. That means your property values just went down 20 percent.” (On the positive side, that means my school taxes will be less next year.)

Melinda G. Marino, Denton