Controversial grading policy commonly used in Upstate schools - FOX Carolina 21

Controversial grading policy commonly used in Upstate schools

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Students in an Upstate school classroom. (File/FOX Carolina) Students in an Upstate school classroom. (File/FOX Carolina)
OCONEE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Floor grading is a commonly used practice when it comes to students' grades, and it's used in some Upstate schools.

Floor grading is when a student can't receive a zero at certain times of the year. Educators said it is used in hopes of giving students a second chance. 

The School District of Oconee County just implemented grade floors this school year.

Assistant Superintendent Dianne England said they didn't want one quarter of the school year to cause students to fail for the year.

"If they started out poorly but then turned things around we wanted to give them that opportunity," said England.

Educators think South Carolina's current grading policy allows too much room for failure. Floor grades vary from district to district, but typically the policy prevents students from getting a grade lower than a 50. 

Many high schools use the grade floor of a 61.

Those who oppose the practice fear it could contribute to grade inflation, making it "too easy" for low-performing students or giving students a false hope of their own abilities.

The principal of Northwood Middle School, Richard Griffin, said all that matters is that it helps students. Griffin has been implementing grade floors since 2007.

Oconee County said it's too soon to tell if grade floors are making a difference, but their hope is that it will simply motivate students.

"I really think good teachers already do this, and give students every opportunity - dropping the lowest grade, giving students the opportunity to take a retest. It's just good practice," England said.

Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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South Carolina's State Board of Education has a uniform grading policy.

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