Poll: What Constitutes a Passing Grade?

Holy Trinity has decided to make it "70." What do you think?

Holy Trinity Diocesan High School in Hicksville just announced that a passing grade for their students in all courses will be 70, effective in the next school year.

The decision, Trinity officials said, comes after careful consideration and discussions involving the faculty and administration. 

What if 65 didn't cut it anymore in public schools? Is it time to increase the standards that constitute a passing grade?

What do you consider a passing grade at home or work? Is it 80. Or 95?

Take our poll and weigh in with your comments.

marie April 06, 2012 at 11:20 AM
HT needs to raise their academic bar - passing is 75 at Chaminade and Kellenberg - always has been.
TheGreek April 06, 2012 at 04:22 PM
At work, of I only finish 90 percent of what is required, it is not acceptable.
Kristen Ferrari April 06, 2012 at 04:33 PM
At Saint Anthony's High School 75 is passing. My daughter was always a good student but I notice she works harder because the bar is set higher.
Jason Molinet April 06, 2012 at 07:56 PM
I like pass / fail myself. That's what life is all about.
Kristen Ferrari April 06, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Pass/fail is an ok option in certain things but shouldn't there be more to strive for than pass/fail?
Jason Molinet April 06, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Perfection connotates rote learning. I'd rather school be like learning a craft. There are many ways to build a mouse trap. America is great because of the creative process. More of that needs to be tapped in the classroom.
Dan Michaels April 07, 2012 at 04:06 AM
Pass/Fail still needs a benchmark passing grade score. I went through school where 75 was passing. Why was it lowered? Raise the score, raise the effort. If you think life is merely pass or fail, boy oh boy, where did you get an education? You must have been a happy just to pass kind of guy. No effort, no gain.
Bob Shane April 07, 2012 at 12:46 PM
I sympathize with the 'pass/fail' idea, and do understand the rationale but it's just not workable in a competitive environment. The main problem is that you eliminate *degrees* of competence. That might be okay with an arts-and-crafts project at summer camp, but just think of the problems it could create in, say, an engineering course in statics and dynamics. If the professor's numerical benchmark for passing is a 70, an individual who achieved that grade would be judged as competent as a student who achieved a 95. Now, which student would you want on your bridge designing project? I think the passing grade should be as high as reasonably possible. Years ago -- many years ago -- the NYS Regents exam had a minimum passing grade of 75. And that's when the exam was actually challenging. In my view, that's a reasonable benchmark in an academic environment.
Kristen Ferrari April 07, 2012 at 01:00 PM
I agree with you that it would be nice to see school like learning a craft. Unfortunately in the age of standardized testing, the districts are more concerned with a final result, even if it is meaningless. It is also interesting to think about a pass/fail mentality in different people. Some would be more like you and some would strive simply for the passing grade. I suppose that happens with regular grades as well.
Kristen Ferrari April 07, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Bob, what about the late bloomers? I know many people I graduated high school with that were not great students. If you based their life on their grades, they'd be low achievers in life. I know too many who have gone on to great success just as I know many honor roll students who didn't achieve much in the way of careers. Jason brought up a very interesting point. I wonder if it has more to do with the internal drive and maturity.
Bob Shane April 07, 2012 at 02:24 PM
@Kristen ... That's a good point. I don't believe that you can base anything solely on grades. It would be an unfair and incomplete measure of the individual. However, in a meritocratic system, you've got to have some type of objective standard by which evaluations are made. If you didn't, it would be a real mess out there.
Kristen Ferrari April 07, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Maybe we just need a balance. I do think grades mean something but I also think there are people who aren't book smart who have amazing capabilities. It's an interesting thing to think about.
Sara Whitehair April 08, 2012 at 02:29 AM
It doesn't matter what the NUMBER is. Whatever it is, most kids in a class are going to be above it and a few will fall below. The number itself is meaningless. In general, grades fall on the normal curve, and the curve merely narrows when the passing grade is raised. Remember who's makIng the tests and grading the papers and assigning the grades. The same person who is getting rated based on those same students' success (grades).
Joe Dowd (Editor) April 08, 2012 at 03:34 AM
This is a lively, and interesting debate. It raises great issues, one I've wondered about for a long time. Why did I do so marginally in High School (Plainview, '74; fine education, lousy grades) and suddenly go to college and get virtually straight As for four years. I wasn't suddenly smarter. What happened?
Kristen Ferrari April 08, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Joe, I know so many who were marginal and even floundered and yet went on to great careers and great success. I have this discussion often with my brother. I did well in school and always tried yet I'm back finishing my degree now at 44. So it is an interesting question. I see it with my kids and wonder. I have a son who just had no interest in school at all and would be happy if he got two answers correct, my other son who did not have to work at all for grades and my daughter who is very focused. I don't compare them, but it is my own little science experiment as I watch them grow into adults.
Helen April 09, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Kristen, too funny - that's how I saw it with mine - how can they be so different? Some have the drive, some don't. Some don't try and succeed and some try very hard and fail. I also have to note that I noticed as well, those who did not do well in h.s. went on to great successes - and those who did do well, and doing okay now.....and versions all in between. Ultimately it is up to the individual - but until the standardized tests go the way of the dinosaur - we're not going to see much changing in the schools....
Kristen Ferrari April 09, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Helen, I'm not a big fan of the standardized tests. I understand that they need a tool to see how students are doing, but do the standardized tests do that? And yes, I agree that individual drive is a factor as well.
Helen April 10, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Kristen, I don't believe the standardized tests do that at all. To me it's the yearly equivalent of the SAT. It doesn't tell the story of the student - and one test shouldn't measure anyone - student or teacher abilities. All this time being wasted with standardized tests and these kids are not learning what they need to. Speaking from personal experience - those tests that don't count toward our children's grade DO count toward the placement in the following years classes. So, if you happen to excel on the day of the test BUT do barely okay for the four quarters school is in session you will place well. IF you test badly that one day - for whatever reason - you didn't care because the test doesn't "count" - you didn't feel well, whatever; they DO count that as a recommendation for support classes. Go figure.
Kristen Ferrari April 10, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Helen, I agree with you about the standardized tests. It doesn't take into account some students who are not great test takers or even test anxiety. I remember years ago when my oldest was going into 4th grade, there was such a push for one of the new standardized tests that most of the year went towards teaching them for the test. It really was a lost year. Of course there is added pressure because now no district wants to get named in Newsday's worst school list or on the list of schools that need improvement. Sometimes there are other factors besides those tests and the students and districts that could use help don't get it.
Helen April 11, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Frustrating. These kids get one shot at their school career and great lessons in how the real world works - guess it 'ain't' all bad.......
Jon May 05, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Ahh. So we all agree there is a curve. And let's face it some people are born A students whether by drive or smarts and others are not. And still others are immature or have rotten homes. Yet everyone wants to judge teachers by this very unscientific scale hmmm. But it isn't fair to the kids. So the logic is as follows: I am short and fat I want my pediatrician to lose his job. I am only middle class, the bank president should lose his job. LOL


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