Administration and Grade Changes

Discussion in 'General Education' started by krysmorgsu, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2008
    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 20, 2009

    At the end of the school year, my school did something that boggles my mind from a moral and philosophical pov. A teacher failed a student (senior), and apparently it's not good to fail a senior for a necessary class in my school. The student failed the year by 20 points, and admin was pressuring the teacher (non-tenured, I might add) to change the grade. She was stubborn about it, so they finally basically ordered her to come up with something he could do to change the grade to a pass, like a paper or project. Personally, i find this disgusting, and a sign of what's wrong with education. See, they feared the parent. They wanted the kid to graduate. What makes it even worse, in my opinion, is that currently my school is being sued by another parent whose kid they graduated who really shouldn't have graduated. Supposedly, the kid can't find a good job and can't get accepted into college, so Mom is suing the district for "failing to prepare him" for the real world. You think they would learn! What my mentor said is that she has only had this happen once to her, and that her response to admin (since they'll change it anyway, regardless) was change it if YOU want to, but I'M not changing the grade. Anyway, I just wanted to open this up for debate on here, see what other teachers think about this, if other school districts pressure teachers in this way, and, if it happened to you, how you handled it.
     
  2.  
  3. cmw

    cmw Groupie

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Messages:
    1,241
    Likes Received:
    2

    Jul 20, 2009

    In a private school I was forced to change a grade b-c a student did not complete and turn in work after a vacation. I felt it was unfair to all students who completed the work so I raised everyone's grade by the same amount.

    oops..I forgot to add that it was from a B to an A. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2009
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jul 20, 2009

    I've never been pressured to change a grade.

    But there may be more to the story. Was this totally out of the blue?? Did the kid ever fail a marking period, or a progress report? Did mom and dad (who never see test grades, only what's mailed or phoned to them) know this was coming and choose to ignore it?

    Or was this, from their point of view, something they could have prevented had they had more or better communication from the teacher?

    Any time I've ever failed a kid for the year, I make SURE the parents have no basis for saying "we never saw this coming." That normally means at least one phone call, and at least one failing progress/ report card, along with the accompanying interview request. I also always request to speak to all my D's-- and as a math teacher, you know that my interview nights are normally pretty busy.

    I'm not taking a stand, just saying that things are rarely as cut and dried as they may seem.
     
  5. hernandoreading

    hernandoreading Comrade

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    402
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 20, 2009

    I've had this happen, and I just told admin that they were welcome to change the grade at their discretion, but I would have no part of it. They did. The student went on to high school & failed 9th grade. Shocking.
     
  6. alilisa

    alilisa Habitué

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2005
    Messages:
    922
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 20, 2009

    In my school we are not allowed to give D's or F's. The teachers have to change the grades to a C or better. They put a little comment on there that says the grade has been modified. Like the parents even care about that comment! The teachers get so frustrated at this!
     
  7. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2008
    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 20, 2009

    I know that the student this year had failed every marking period. As far as other things go, I know the AP had parent-teacher conferences with every senior who was in danger of not graduating. I also know that this student failed other classes, but this one he needed to graduate. As far as anything else, I really don't know for sure, but what I do know is that our school gives the students the report cards, and only mails the final report card for the year. Not in my opinion the best way of doing things, since I know I called parents before who "never saw the grades". As far as the lawsuit goes, I really don't know anything else about it.

    Since I'm not the teacher in question, I don't really know more. I am, however, interested in whether or not this sort of thing happens in other schools. I guess I could say, for the sake of argument, let's assume that everything that should have been done was done. Does that help?
     
  8. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2008
    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 20, 2009

    Does anyone else think that these sorts of things hurt more than they help? Yeah, the kid passes your grade, but no wonder we have seniors who can't write a 1 page paper with a single complete and grammatically correct sentence! To me, this hurts the student (in the end), the quality of education, the teacher, the school's credibility (as far as what the quality of their diploma is), and in the end society, because students are being passed on who are not ready or capable.
     
  9. 101dalmatian

    101dalmatian Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 20, 2009

    When I was on maternity leave last year my sub never taught science so the kids only had 6 grades for that 9 weeks. Instead of having the sub give the kids three quick assignments (we have to have 9 grades for each subject for each nine weeks) my principal deleted all of the science grades after a parent complained her daughter didn't make A honor roll.

    It taught my kids that if they do bad and their parents complain the grades will be dropped.
     
  10. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    838
    Likes Received:
    7

    Jul 20, 2009

    I haven't had to do this, and am glad that I was never in such a situation. I'd be pretty upset about it. If a student legitimately fails, and knew this was going on in advance (as most do), then there are precious few excuses that would "fly".

    As for the fear of law suits.... UGH. Our American culture has gotten so obsessed with suing each other, it's become seriously detrimental to our society. One of our elementary schools removed a slide after a student hurt herself on it, and her parents threatened to sue because it was an unsafe slide. Now, the kids don't get a slide on their playground. Judges need to grow a backbone and start throwing these cases out immediately. "Gee, Johnny can't get a job? Maybe it's because Johnny had a 1.7 GPA and never got higher than a D- in English class and not because his school is not preparing students properly". Bleh... sorry for the rant.... the law suit topic is a very sore subject for me, and drives me NUTS.
     
  11. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2008
    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 20, 2009

    I agree with what all of you are saying! that's why I started this thread...to see what other teachers think of this and how they've handled it!
     
  12. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,710
    Likes Received:
    13

    Jul 20, 2009

    I quit my first job over a very similar situation. A football player failed my class and he was being recruited by several colleges but his grades were not quite as good as his football playing. He needed a spectucular grade in both his math and physics classes for the year. His math grade was a B and physics ended up as a D. The math teacher upped his grade to an A but I refused to do the same. I was told that if he did not end up with an A then I would not be rehired for the following school year. This was a private school and dad was a big donor. I refused to change the grade while handing them a letter of resignation. The principal changed the grade after I left and the student got into the college that he wanted and dad was happy probably while writing a very large check to the school as a donation. The student was the one that I felt sorry for because he did eventually end up in a situation that daddy could not buy him out of. I had actually already been thinking about not returning due to school politics (small town Catholic school that needed donations more than good teachers) but this was the nail in the coffin for my decision. It is a very difficult place to be put in as a teacher and I am glad I made the decision to leave the school.
     
  13. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 20, 2009

    It hurts not only the student whose grade was changed, but also the other students in the class. The message is that you can get the reward without putting in the work - so why put in the work?
     
  14. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    2,292
    Likes Received:
    124

    Jul 20, 2009

    I actually had the reverse - I had a student who was failing and who had been absent (excused by parents) nearly 25% of the school year. His counselor thought it would be a very good lesson if he failed and didn't walk at graduation, but the stinker managed to get a truant absence changed to an excused absence - I had given a test that day, and if he was truant it was an automatic zero. He managed to squeak by with a 61%.

    On the other hand, I had one of the star football players the year before. We are supposed to be able to drop/fail kids after six unexcused absences, but I didn't get rid of him until he had 13 (and football season was over). He was put in my standard level class, never came to school, and ended up finishing at the continuation school.
     
  15. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2008
    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 20, 2009

    Wow! Some of you have really been given raw deals with this!
     
  16. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Messages:
    821
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 20, 2009

    I would be outraged if I was asked to change a students grade and would probably refuse. You all are right. It sets such a bad example, does more harm than good, and will create more problems for the student down the line.

    The child in me just screams how unfair this is. I work very hard to maintain good grades, and I have all through grade school. I can't imagine actually doing all the work and then finding out another student didn't do anything and got to pass the class.

    Well, this student will probably have some bumpy roads ahead in college when he realizes how pampered he was in high school.
     
  17. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    3,321
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jul 20, 2009

    An unearned grade means nothing. To raise a grade because of ANY kind of pressure, scholarship offer, court time, etc, is disgraceful.

    I know my point of view is unpopular sometimes, but doing the work, following the rules, and understanding the consequences of NOT doing both, are the student's responsibility, not the teacher's and not the parent's. Far too many students, and I use that term loosely, have no concept of "earning" a grade; they think they just show up and get an A. Disgraceful. And a parent who would even ask for a grade to be changed is a bad, bad, parent. Billy lost his chance at the college of his choice because mean old Mr. Bailey failed him in biology? Ridiculous. Mean old Mr. Bailey didn't fail Billy; Billy failed. And if Billy's heart was set on being promoted with his friends or getting into that college, Billy should have worked harder. Period.

    No wonder other nations laugh at our public schools now. Our schools have become huge daycare centers, with free food and even beds for evening sometimes. The students don't have to work or even behave; they know nothing will happen to them even if they do something terrible.

    And then there are those good kids who get nothing: no attention, no perks, nothing. There's not much left over after all the hand-holding and head-patting and catering to the lowest common denominator in the building all day and half the night.

    Disgraceful.

    I love the college rules: we simply do not tolerate anyone who chooses not to behave. Period. They act up and they're gone.

    We used to do this in the lower levels. What happened? Our good little kids are not safe at school, they get very little attention, and many times their school day consists of sitting out in the hall tutoring some slower kid. That is what happened to me in elementary, and to my own kids. I was furious; I did not send my children to school to be used as unpaid aides. I sent them to school to learn and ADVANCE. But I digress.

    An unearned grade is a joke and a degradation to society, whether it's a "gift" of twenty points or one point. You don't earn it, you shouldn't get it. The kids understand that concept; they've just learned to work the system, and their parents are idiots.

    EARNED. Not "given." Teachers do not give grades; we simply record. Would a parent insist that the person running the basketball scoreboard give unearned points? No, it would be ridiculous; only EARNED points are given! And it should be exactly the same with classroom grades.
     
  18. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    3,765
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 20, 2009

    Thanks Mamacita for the perfect Hoosier analogy - :thumb:
     
  19. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    3,321
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jul 20, 2009

    You're welcome. I'm just waiting for the bleeding hearts to chime in with "no fair!"

    Heh.
     
  20. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    Messages:
    1,161
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 20, 2009

    Fully 100% agree, grades are earned and I tell my class that fromt he beginning of the year. You earn it whatever it is, you earn it.

    BTW, no one is my class goes without attention or perks. Good kids don't tutor anyone. They do not have to put up with behavior issues either because I won't allow a student to disrupt the learning of the rest of my class regardless of whether they get free lunch or not.
     
  21. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    3,321
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jul 21, 2009

    Excellent!
     
  22. teach2read10

    teach2read10 Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2009
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 21, 2009

    I've had parents be pretty pushy about "negotiating" for a better grade but I've never been pressured by admin.
     
  23. mrsleapfrog

    mrsleapfrog Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 21, 2009

    I had a GT student last year who always got A honor roll. Well let's say on a few of her reading assignments she thought she was too good to read everything and just answered the questions without reading. She ended up making quite a few 80s, which in turn, lowered her A average to a B. She did not make A honor roll. The principal called me in and told me I should adjust her grade so that she would end up with all A's. The parent is a strong PTA member and would have come unglued if she didn't get the honor roll. Mom has been known to raise hell quite a bit and caused me to have a miserable year. Anyway I was told I should "pick my battles".
     
  24. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    2,292
    Likes Received:
    124

    Jul 21, 2009

    And this child is in second grade? :eek:

    I see a long, rocky road ahead....
     
  25. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2008
    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 21, 2009

    Obviously, I agree with all of you completely. I think it's sad that sometimes we may have to "pick our battles", but unfortunately in some cases it becomes necessary in order to keep our jobs. I hope I never have to face this!

    Years ago, this wouldn't be tolerated. Parents would take the side of the teacher - not try to bully their way around. I think it's a sad commentary on the value of education in our society. I honestly don't know many teachers or instances where a student really tries 100% and does everything that they should and the teacher fails them. That's why most of us have more than just test grades as our grade - class participation, homework, projects, etc. Most of the students who this happens to are lazy, and, as someone pointed out, don't realize that grades are earned. Honestly, does anyone have an example of a student who honestly tried their best - did every assignment, came for extra help daily, participated frequently, and never ever turned in something late or was off task - who failed? I think said student almost is guaranteed to at least absorb some things - to the point of getting a D. Maybe not an A, maybe still close to an F, but they probably have enough to at least squeak by. If said student does exist, I'd bet they are not that common. At least less common than the grade changers.
     
  26. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    3,765
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 21, 2009

    My thought exactly - wait until the first A- in high school :eek:
     
  27. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,710
    Likes Received:
    13

    Jul 21, 2009

    She will eventually land herself in a situation like my student did that the parent's money or influence cannot "buy" them out of. Unfortunately that lesson is not often learned by students like this until they are in college. It would be much more useful to the child if they learned at 7 instead of 20.
     
  28. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2008
    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 21, 2009

    Well said!
    :clap:
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 249 (members: 0, guests: 236, robots: 13)
test