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New grading system promoted to help students could cause harm, CMS teachers say

Teachers will no longer be able to give students a "0" for a missing assignment.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Teachers working in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools warn a new grading policy will harm high school students despite district leaders saying it will help them.

As part of the new policy, three high school teachers tell WCNC Charlotte they can no longer give a student any grade below a "50," even if that student never attended class or turned in an assignment.

In addition, the teachers said after a deadline passes for an assignment, they must now give students a five-day grace period.

If the student doesn't turn in the assignment after the five days, the teachers said they can deduct no more than five points for missing a deadline.

"So a student could basically turn in something from January as late as the end of mid-March, when the quarter ends, and they can still get up to a 95," a CMS teacher said.

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The three teachers spoke to WCNC Charlotte on the condition of anonymity because they feared retaliation from the school system for speaking to news media.

All three teachers believe the policy doesn't prepare students for life after school.

"Our mission is 'college-career readiness,'" one teacher said. "Meeting a deadline, getting things turned in, actions have consequence -- if I can't teach them that, then I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing in the classroom."

Another teacher said it's unfair to the students who do put in the work and complete their assignments

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"It's not only then saying that deadlines don't matter," a teacher said. "It's saying that when you don't reach those deadlines and don't take them seriously, people will just give you half the credit anyways."

CMS leaders argued the new grading policy changes are meant to promote flexibility during unprecedented times.

"The student is still not passing the course," North Learning Community Superintendent Matthew Hayes said. "But what it does signify to the student is that there's still hope that the student can still pass the course."

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