Grade Recovery is Slacker Recovery

This is a continuation of my last post about grade recovery, which is located here.  You may recall a much earlier post that I wrote concerning Christopher Harvey, a former teacher of the year here in Jacksonville.

He thinks that grade recovery is a big mistake.  He says the majority of the students taking grade recovery are not deserving ones.  “They’re all abusing it except for the one or two who would have come to the teacher in the first place and asked for the work.”

“It causes a breakdown in the classroom,” he said.  “There is nothing to motivate them to continue working for the entire quarter.  It becomes a complete crutch.  We’re not preparing them for college at all.  There are so many bailouts in high school that in college they expect to retake stuff.”

Lois Floyd, a former English teacher in Jacksonville’s schools, said she would assign so much work for grade recovery that students interested in an easy out wouldn’t take it.

She suggests that students who need to retake a class ought to go for six full weeks in summer school and parents need to pay for it.

“Right now, teachers and administrators back down to the parents,” she said.  “If a parent fusses, they’re right there to make it better.”

The primary method used in grade recovery here in Jacksonville is a computer program called Compass Odyssey, which I wrote about in more detail in this post.

To the extent that it causes additional work for teachers, it’s an additional insult to a profession that is overburdened with paperwork and outside distractions.  What happens to a classroom get even a few students are interested because they are planning to take advantage of grade recovery?

Teachers have enough difficulty; the district is sending a strong message that teachers are nice to have but not indispensable.

It also devalues the grades because a C grade acquired through grade recovery is unlikely to represent the same rigor as one obtained in a classroom setting.

Pratt-Dannals, the district superintendent, said that he would like to reduce the number of students who need grade recovery, but the trend belies those words.  The overuse of grade recovery devalues the education in public schools.

Grade recovery should be used in a few extraordinary cases for students with legitimate excuses–such as illness or family emergencies.

Have you had any experience with grade recovery in your district?  Are there any solutions available for this issue?

Coming Tuesday: Alternatives to Grade Recovery