Are Students Coddled? Schools Get Rid of 'F's

Several school districts are abandoning failing marks for their pupils.

ByABC News
December 4, 2008, 4:22 PM

Dec. 5, 2008 — -- For more students nationwide, the grading alphabet ends at "D," as school districts eliminate policies that allow children to be given failing marks.

At public schools in Grand Rapids, Mich., high school students will no longer receive "F"s but instead will earn the letter "H" when their work falls woefully short.

Superintendent Bernard Taylor told that the "H" stands for "held," and is a system designed to give students a second chance on work that was not up to par.

"I never see anyone doing anything but punishing kids," said Taylor. "If the choice is between letting kids fail and giving them another opportunity to succeed, I'm going to err on the side of opportunity."

Students in Taylor's district can choose to retake the course, do extra work online or decide on a different remedial action with their teacher.

But if the work has not been rectified within 12 weeks, Taylor said the student will still receive a failing grade.

At one Boston area middle school, a policy known as "Zeros Aren't Permitted" gives students who do not complete their homework on time an opportunity during school hours to finish so that they do not fail the assignment.

The school principal explained that the policy was implemented in hopes of preventing "students from failing homework assignments and slipping through the cracks of the education system."

But school administrators, child psychologists and even parents disagree over whether the controversial policy in school grading may actually be detrimental to children in the long run.