Montgomery County schools adjusts final Algebra grade after more than 80 percent fail exam

(WJLA) – In less than a minute, high school senior Naomi Noubossie was able to tackle a simple Algebra 1 equation, but it is the sort of formula that stumped many Montgomery County middle and high school students this year.

So many students failed their Algebra 1 final exam that the school district added a 15 percent bump to their grades.

“It just makes you more lazy, it doesn’t make you work harder. It’s just a way to pass,” said Noubossie.

Of the 4,545 Montgomery County high school students who took the final algebra 1 exam this past year, about 82 percent failed the test.

The district says there were many factors behind the high failure rate, including the loss of more than 20 days due to prep time for new state mandated assessment classes.

“We didn’t make it easier, we didn’t make it harder, we just recognized there were extenuating circumstances at play. It had to be done, and we handled it,” said Dana Tofig, public information officer for Montgomery County Public Schools.

The report cards for thousands of students were also delayed while grades were recalculated in order to include the new algebra grades.

“I don’t appreciate it. I don’t agree with it. I think if a child wasn’t able to make a grade that child needs to step up and regroup and try to make that grade,” said Toby Suarez, a Montgomery County parent.

The grade change was also upsetting for some students who have taken the class in the past and fought hard to get passing grades.

Despite the grade boost, the school says the majority of the students were going to pass the class anyway before the final exam results.