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The Honor of Honor Roll

PRINCIPALS OFFICE

Well it appears the new year is upon us. With this, is a time for renewed energy and resolutions. I thought I would take the moment to discuss the current state of grades in our school system.

One thing many parents and students view is our honor roll. This is a grade average of the students academic standing. When I first came to Bottineau, I was told the staff had agreed that the honor roll was too easy. We simply had too many students being recognized for mediocrity. The simple fix was to increase the categories to reflect the achievement. I ran the honor roll with the increased standards,and low and behold…people began to be concerned. Some of these same people were the ones who had complained of the standards being too low!

I am not writing this t lament the past,but to maybe shed some light on a few concerns and ideas that we may need to observe in the future. The first point is that not every student is an honor student. They do not all deserve the recognition. Most in actuality do not make the honor roll and guess what? They are great students. They try hard they are respectful and they attend daily. This isn’t what the honor roll measures. This doesn’t mean we treat them as lesser people, we do not. Again this is honorable but not the honor roll. If you have a child in this category, take the time to let them know you are happy with them, and to keep trying their hardest and that you value the things they excel at. As my Grandmother would say, take the time to shine them up and they will excel. Do not call and ask the school to change the standard of academics so they are recognized in the paper. If a parent feels so strong, take out an add and tell the world how great the student is. Of course this is a bit sarcastic but the student who learns a great deal may not show up on the honor roll.

On this note, does the honor roll reflect learning? I am of the opinion that our students who have learned the most may not show anything by way of the grading scale. Let me explain. If a student comes into math with a small skill set but leaves able to do 80 per cent of the assigned standards,they have a huge leap but are only scoring an 80 per cent. This is a C. Why is this so. Because the whole grading system is severely outdated. It is based on an old early 1900′s factory model.

In the future the common core report cards will simply show you what your child has learned. As this continues the Honor Roll will change also. Students will either hit the desired standard or they will not, but because we as a society are not ready for this shift we will continue to add the old style of report card ether paper or electronic, which will tell us nothing about the amount learned. As parents you will need to decide would you rather have your child get the high grades and not be concerned with the amount learned or would you rather have them learn a great deal and maybe not show the high grade? I believe sadly that many would rather see high grades with very little regard to learning. As a society we need this to change. These are just some thoughts to ponder going forward because as a system being pushed into the common core(I will address this later) we will see our current scale changing and we will need solid ideas on who and how we recognize achievement and learning. Until next time
Joel Bickford