The Equal Interval Scale

It seems like more and more children’s sports awards are nothing more than participation ribbons, so  kids self-esteem doesn’t get hurt when they lose. Despite that trend, what one California school system is doing in the classroom is still a shock to many.

The Cotati-Rohnert Park School District in Sonoma County has changed its grading scale, basically making it hard for a student to get a failing grade. For example, to get an F, a student has to score below 20 percent.

Part of the new system is a blanket policy that students get a grade of 50 percent even if they don’t hand in any homework or take a test. This creates a situation where a student who skips a test — a kid who doesn’t even try — can score better overall than a student who takes it and does poorly.

School administrators say the new system reflects a national movement that encourage students to try, but doesn’t making them feel bad when they get bad grades. The new system’s called the equal interval scale.

When effort’s rewarded and not achievement – everybody loses.


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