IN THE NEWS: Some Things Are Non-Negotiable

Negotiating grades? I don’t think so.

Well, we’ve really done it now.

We’re living in an upside down world where not only is the tail wagging the dog, but in is out and up is down.

It’s a mad, mad, mad world.

Or whatever.

A recent decision from the B.C. school board that allows students to “negotiate” their grades is, in my opinion, one of the more silly and potentially dangerous decisions that the board could have made.

Why?

Well, the reasons are numerous. Here are just a few of them:

School Grades Should Be Non-Negotiable. Here’s Why:

  • Negotiating grades means that there is no benchmark for success. If the final mark is subject to change, what incentive is there for the student to really work hard?
  • The final grade will be subjective, based on the whims of the particular teacher who happens to either feel sympathetic to the student’s plight, resulting in a changed grade that the student may not deserve or the opposite may occur: the educator may not be swayed by the student’s argument, which may adversely affect the final grade
  • It would be impossible to create a standard in terms of where negotiations would begin. For example, is it only okay to negotiate when there’s a 10 per cent difference in what the student feels they should get, and what the teacher provided, or would the spread have to be greater/smaller? Who would decide?
  • Not everything in life is negotiable; it’s best that young people learn this lesson sooner than later as life in the big, bad world isn’t always easy

We’ve gotten to a point in our society where we’re so concerned about kids’ feelings being hurt, and where coddling our kids is the norm

We’ve gotten to a point in our society where we’re so concerned about kids’ feelings being hurt, and where coddling our kids is the norm, that what makes the most sense isn’t often the chosen course of action. In what world does it make sense that the teacher is taking direction from the student regarding the student’s grades? Aren’t teachers supposed to be the final arbiters of what qualifies as a pass, a fail and everything in-between? And yes – when young people get to the higher educational levels, e.g. college or university, there is definitely room for discussion about marks. Challenging the status quo is one of the foundational skills learned post-secondary education. But before that – elementary school, middle school then high school – I’m old school: what the teacher says goes, end of story.

And don’t get me started about awards and recognition at school. We talked about that topic as well, and I underscored again my feelings on this (you may remember this post: Kids Shouldn’t Always Win. Here’s Why) Here’s a recent segment on this topic where I discussed my thoughts on CTV News Channel.

 

How do you feel about this topic? Should students be allowed to negotiate their grades? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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