50% Rule, Fair or Unjust?



The 50% percent rule is a controversial one to say the least. This rule in a sense gives leeway for students to not be as stressed out over work due to the fact that it allows them to get at least a 50% on all work turned in or even work that’s not turned in. Furthermore, the rule has been implemented in schools across the country and for some it’s looked at as experimental at schools like Tuscarora High School, but for others this has been a part of the curriculum for years. 

This rule is meant to reduce the impact a zero from a missing assignment has on students by giving them 50% credit back. The controversy of this rule should not be understated as teachers across the country can be fired for not giving a 50% on missing work. But here at Tuscarora this rule is in a testing phase, this is because in a few years FCPS will be turning the 50% rule into a countywide rule along with a new grading system. But as of right now the 50% rule is being tested and the test was put into place by the department heads here at Tuscarora. That’s why it can only be seen in English and Social Studies classes; these are the only classes that are using this rule. A teacher here at THS thinks that the rule is a double edged sword, as it has the ability to relieve a lot of stress for students, but it can also be taken advantage of to slack off and create a poor work effort. Many students and teachers also agree with her thoughts and believe that this rule is unacceptable and should be repealed. There is a dissenting opinion that says that the kids that already score well will continue to score well, so the extra help that the other students get shouldn’t matter to them. But is it fair that one student works extremely hard to get an A then another student ignores an assignment and gets half credit? It shows the hard working students that they don’t matter, and all that matters is getting kids to pass even if it is a D or an A. A teacher in Baltimore county stated it best, “The emphasis is on the passing. The emphasis is not on the learning.” Which is obviously counterproductive as the point of school is to teach kids not to waste their time. Therefore this rule should not be put into place without further refinement.

It’s without a doubt that the 50% percent gives off mixed emotions to people depending on who and where you ask, but you have to ask yourself if that type of publicity around such a rule is good publicity. Make no mistake about it though, as long as the 50% rule is around it will definitely be one that will be talked about for a while whether as a good addition to the curriculum or a bad addition to the curriculum.