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Teachers Gave Extra Points For Sharp Dressing

March 18, 1986

CHATHAM, N.J. (AP) _ Two high school teachers have stopped giving extra points on tests to students who dressed up for class, the borough’s school superintendent said.

″It probably wasn’t a very good idea,″ Superintendent Mark Smith said Monday. The practice, he said, was ″indefensible from an educational point of view.″

Smith said he learned of the practice several weeks ago and contacted the school’s principal, Arthur Ebeling. Ebeling told him the teachers had agreed to stop.

Teachers Judy Rattner and Steven Frieberger awarded five extra points to boys who wore jackets and ties, shoes and dress slacks and to girls who wore a dress or skirt and blouse, stockings and dress shoes.

″I think people who look good, who feel good about themselves, perform better on a test,″ Frieberger said, adding that good students usually dressed up while poor ones did not.

He said he had received no complaints from students about the dress points.

Frieberger, a social studies teacher, said he used the same system for many years while teaching in Virginia and in Maplewood. He gave 12 tests a year with the dress points option, he said. Ms. Rattner, who teaches math, gave four such tests a year.

Smith said the system had a ″very real potential for inequity.″

″Basically, I feel very strongly that grades should be based on academic achievement and should not be based on other factors, such as dress or discipline,″ he said.

The state Department of Education said no regulations prohibited giving extra points on the basis of appearance.

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