Madison’s new grading policy will only let students fall through the cracks

Jillian Ludwig:

The implications of this grading floor are even more important considering that MMSD is known to have a significant racial achievement gap. There is a stark difference between a grade of 0% and 50%, and it has value. By getting rid of this important distinction, the district risks letting students fall further through the cracks by simply passing them even if they demonstrate no knowledge of a subject. Instead of simply adjusting the scale, MMSD should work to address the cause of these low grades. Without intervention on the front end, artificially enhancing failing grades does nothing to help disadvantaged students in the long run.  

Further, the lack of clear grading this past spring will play a major role in what occurs when students return to school, regardless of that return being virtual or in person. There is a well-documented phenomenon of learning loss during out-of-school time, be it summer vacation or weather-related closure, and coronavirus closures are no different. Studies have predicted that students will start the school year with just 70% of their learning gains in reading from last year and only 50% of math gains.  

The reality is that students will be playing a massive game of catch-up this fall. Grading acts as an indicator for where a student is in the learning process, and this fall, more than ever before, schools will need to have clear indicators of what portion of knowledge students have imparted in the classroom or online, even if that is below 50%. This fall, students need their schools and their teachers to champion them and push them to regain the time in the classroom lost during the lockdown. MMSD’s new policy seems to be doing just the opposite, giving way to what has been called the bigotry of low expectations.  

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 


The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration