Wednesday, June 15, 2005

No GPA left behind

Delsea Regional High School, here in South Jersey, had a problem:
"We were seeing GPAs decline, and we wondered what we could do about it," principal Joseph Sottosanti said.
So Delsea decided to stop holding midterm and final exams, instead relying on "projects, papers and presentations."

Sure, this is a great way to inflate grades. After all, finals are hard -- they force students to demonstrate knowledge of a whole year's material, not just what teacher taught last week. And some people aren't very good at high-stakes tests. But I don't see the educational purpose.

In an ideal world, kids would spend the time they would have spent cramming by doing stimulating, creative and challenging projects. Why don't I think that's happening at Delsea? The article has a photograph (not available online) that gives a hint. The caption reads: "Delsea freshman Tatyana Eades makes a piñata for a Spanish project."

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