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Newark Schools Reopen as Teachers Wrestle With Grading


Reports say Central High School teachers have been told not to give failing grades —- good or bad?

Newark’s public schools reopened Monday, but only about a third of students opted to go, in a year that has had no shortage of challenges.

Teachers have been in a bind on how to grade students who may have lacked what they needed to do their school work.

There have been reports that teachers at Central High School have been told not to give F’s.

School officials in Newark did not respond to requests for comment about whether there is indeed a no-fail policy.

Tanya Maloney, assistant professor of teaching and learning at Montclair State, was asked what she would think of something like that.

“If I were the principal it would definitely be on the table. I can’t say definitely yes or definitely no but I do think the option would be on the table,” she said.

Maloney questioned whether even if given an F, did a student really fail under these conditions?

“Should they get an F? What would that F mean?” she asked.

‘Typically that F means that the child either did not understand the material, was not prepared for the material, or wasn’t engaging with the material.”

She also said passing students under any circumstances may have consequences down the line.

“If you’re saying well, we can’t give children F’s, certainly on the one hand it’s challenging because you’re essentially saying that the child has passed the class,” Maloney said, “and now maybe they’re going on to another class that they’re not properly prepared for.”

Janice Kirkel is a lifelong award-winning journalist who has done everything from network newscasts to national and local sports reports to business newscasts to specialized reporting and editing in technical areas of business and finance such as bankruptcy, capital structure changes and reporting on the business of the investment business.