Changing Final Grades - Ethical?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by ms_chandler, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. ms_chandler

    ms_chandler Comrade

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    Oct 9, 2006

    First quarter exams are today and tomorrow. I have some kids that were borderline failing, and I think they deserve a D. Even after dropping their lowest test score, it was borderline. I have some kids that really do deserve to fail the quarter. They did not study and literally earned their F, as harsh as that might seem. There is no way that I think these trying kids deserve the same grade as the kids who did not study. Yet, part of me thinks it's a little unethical to change grades. I have already added in extra credit bathroom passes and put in their participation grade for the quarter which counted as a test grade.

    Any ideas? I also have 7 failing kids in one of my classes which I knew from the get-go because I have a bad cluster there. They need a WAKE-UP call. In my other classes, I have 1 or 2 F's. This one class just has a few bad apples... lol
     
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Oct 9, 2006

    This nine weeks I had two kids who generally work pretty hard, but didn't quite make it to a C. They both had something like a 69.4 final average. I added a point or two to one assignment . . . just to bump them up to a 70%. I did the same thing for one student with a 59.1.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I have no problem with giving a point or so to a child who has shown some effort.

    But parents and administrators will have a huge problem with you failing a student whose grades were above 65 (or whatever is passing in your school.) So I would give them D's and request conferences with parents, but they would pass.
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I remember in high school I went to my teacher EVERY single morning and asked for tutoring before school started. I didn't really have enough math prior to the class to understand the class material (physics). My mom made me take it. I really really worked at it. I KNOW my teacher bumped me and I got a 70 each grade period. Not a point more or a point less. Bless his heart. He KNEW I was trying.
     
  6. ms_chandler

    ms_chandler Comrade

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    Deafinly Smart - I know that happened to me when I was a student with math and science at one time or another! That's why I feel for them now.

    In my school district anything under a 70 is failing. When I was in school (not that long ago), a 65 was failing. Also, in this district a 95 is an A-. When I was in school, a 92 was an A-... big difference in my book.

    Alice - I am not going to fail anyone with a D... I think you're confused? I'm saying I have kids with 67's, etc., and I'd like to bump them to a 70D-. But, I have kids that definitely have earned their F's, so they will stay at F's.

    I guess I needed some encouragement in doing this because I felt a little uneasy...

    Thanks!
     
  7. mshutchinson

    mshutchinson Comrade

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    Oct 9, 2006

    If you're worried about being scrutinized, work class participation into the grade, and let it be subjective.
    You can say susie earned 8 out of 10 CP points, anf Johnny earned 3.
     
  8. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Oct 9, 2006

    I say go ahead. I think kids who legitimately try and just can't quite do well deserve to pass for the sheer effort, whereas the kids who don't bother to try can't justify passing anyway.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 10, 2006

    Sorry, I did misunderstand.

    I have no problem with giving kids the benefit of the doubt. A big part of our job is encouraging kids to learn-- that's what you would be doing.

    Sorry about the misunderstanding; it had been a gorgeous day here and I took the kids with the beach... then argued with 3 tired cranky kids for a few hours. I was beat!!
     
  10. MrsMikesell

    MrsMikesell Cohort

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    Oct 10, 2006

    Hi!

    I teach Kindergarten, so it's different, but if you're "giving" them grades what will happen when they are out of school and have been taught that they can pass without *really* passing.

    Will their boss "give" them a break?

    Just a thought.

    Kelly :)
     
  11. ddb23

    ddb23 Companion

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    Oct 10, 2006


    Kids also need to be taught that hard work can help you "grind through." If a kid works harder than he did before and still gets the same grade, then he'll give up. If you are really unsure about giving a grade a bump, then you could offer them an extra credit assignment.

    I've known bosses to be forgiving and to show respect for thsoe who come into work the earliest and leave the latest.

    db
     
  12. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    Oct 10, 2006

    Use your judgment.

    As somebody suggested, I might add a point or two on a subjective assignment to see if that changes a grade. There are many times when I just sort of eye-ball assignments and give check, check plus, or check minus. If the student had just received a check plus instead of a check, the whole grade for the nine weeks might be different. Since I graded the assignment without much consideration or a rubric, I'm open to adding a few points.

    However, I will tell you that I don't usually change marking period grades. I give so much extra credit that I feel if a student's grade STILL isn't high enough for that grade, then he or she didn't deserve it. I'll be a bit more lenient for the year-end grade. Even the borderline kids who may be more deserving of a D than an F are at risk of failing for the year. An F on the first report card might be the wake-up call they need.

    Last year at the end of the year taking the final exam was optional for my honors English students. Maybe 10% of the students could bump up their final average by a whole grade by earning a certain grade on the exam, but half of those had to earn a 97 or above. For those students, it seemed a waste to take a 150 point exam and write an essay trying to earn an impossible grade, so I gave them the option of writing an additional paper which I would count for x number of points on their final marking period grade. This reduced the grade needed by about 5 points per person. Whereas getting a 97, 98, or 99 seemed impossible, a 92 or 93 gave them some breathing room. There may have been a student or two who went to the trouble to write the paper and take the exam and who was still a half a point short, so I made sure they got it since they went the distance for it. About half of the students just said, "No thank you," so that was that for their final grades.

    I was always in between levels in math in high school. Honors was too hard, and the next level down was too easy. In 10th grade I took honors algebra and trigonometry, and I was lost all year long. I came in for extra help and got a tutor. At the end of the year, the teacher informed me that she had given me a point or two to make my final grade a B instead of a C . . . and then she promptly demanded that I kiss her on the cheek as a thank you! (In this day and age, I wouldn't suggest asking your students to repay you in physical affection!)
     
  13. ms_chandler

    ms_chandler Comrade

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    Oct 10, 2006

    No problem!

    That's ok! Your day sounds wonderful... I'm jealous!


     
  14. ms_chandler

    ms_chandler Comrade

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    Oct 10, 2006

    Yes, I believe that if they make a minor mistake, then their boss may overlook it. While working part-time in college, I made several mistakes, and my boss reprimanded me but let me slide because it was an honest mistake...

    I never missed a life lesson because of this.

    Thanks!
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Besides, they're NOT at work yet; they're in school and learning. My math class is a process-- kids can put in equal amounts of time and effort and achieve vastly different results. So I see no harm in rewarding that time and effort. And again, no one is suggesting changing a 60 to a 90-- we're talking about a few points to push a kid up into a D from an F. The two grades send vastly different messages, yet the letters show no reflection of the actual effort involved.

    Sometimes we need to remember that they're still kids.
     
  16. MrsMikesell

    MrsMikesell Cohort

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    Oh, I know they are kids. :)

    And I'm teaching Kindergarten and do not even give grades....

    But, I also know two college freshman in my neighborhood that tried to get summer jobs this summer and were just dumb-struck at the fact that their employers wouldn't let them just squeak by... show up late, leave early, beg to get out of certain parts of their jobs, etc... and still make their regular hourly rate.

    It just made me think that they must have been taught that they could do those things and "get by". I guess I just think that sometimes we let things "get by" so much as teachers that when they enter college or the working force that they are shocked at the expectations.

    Kelly :)
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm sorry, I didn't mean to come off the way I probably sounded. And I agree that kids need to learn responsibility early (and often!)

    But go back to the original post: "There is no way that I think these trying kids deserve the same grade as the kids who did not study" It sounds as though these kids DID work and DID put in the effort, but just didn't see the results at test time.

    And 7th grade is a long way from 12th; I think they will learn more from a bit of a break than from the F.

    And that's my opinion. I'll leave this topic alone now and give others a chance. (Besides, I have papers to grade from my own 7th graders :) )
     
  18. WonderW05

    WonderW05 Comrade

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    Oct 11, 2006

    Aliceacc
    I had the same problem during quarter grades. I had some kids that were a thread short of earning a D and worked their tails off by coming to class and attempting all of the probelms even if they were not exactly perfect.I bumped them up.
    However, I did have those students that just didn't bother to turned in anywork then i just left them(I made those calls during progress report time and some even had SST meetings). Those that tried so hard and came to class everyday deserved to be bumped.
    Yes, I agree my students are still little. We had some free time the last day of the quarter and they STILL wanted to play silent ball and Heads up 7up. I teach 7th grade too. We had fun and that is all what matters.

    QUOTE=Aliceacc]Besides, they're NOT at work yet; they're in school and learning. My math class is a process-- kids can put in equal amounts of time and effort and achieve vastly different results. So I see no harm in rewarding that time and effort. And again, no one is suggesting changing a 60 to a 90-- we're talking about a few points to push a kid up into a D from an F. The two grades send vastly different messages, yet the letters show no reflection of the actual effort involved.

    Sometimes we need to remember that they're still kids.[/QUOTE]
     
  19. DarthAlan

    DarthAlan Rookie

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    Nov 3, 2006

    I have a problem with grades too.
    I have about 8 kids who have done nothing in an elective AVID class. I gave them F's on the progress report. In my district they cannot play sports if they recieve an F until they get it upto a D.
    My administrators dismissed the grades and allowed students to play their sports anyway. Now I feel that there is no reason for these students to try to pick up their grades this quarter, because it is only an elective class.

    I have been put in a position where my administrator has told me that I cannot ever give an F. I don't understand the theory, but I guess we can just pass these kids unprepared onto the employers a few years from now.
     
  20. MathRules

    MathRules New Member

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    Nov 4, 2006

    Ms. Chandler, I teach 10th grade math and I too bump a grade for those who try so hard. I've been doing this for years and see no problem with it. Most of my teacher friends do this too. Of course I'm talking about students who are close to a D.
     
  21. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Do we really believe that the kids don't know when their report card grade doesn't honestly reflect what they genuinely EARNED? They might be grateful for the gift of a few points, but they know those points aren't really theirs, representing knowledge and at least a basic understanding of the subject at hand. I don't think that condescension is ever good. As for rewarding good behavior and 'trying,' would any parent jump down from the bleachers at a basketball game, and demand or even politely request that the scorekeeper grant Muffy or Billy at least 1 point even though the ball missed, because he/she tried so hard and it's not his/her fault the other kids are better athletes and, and, and, the ball rolled around the rim and ALMOST went in? I'm sure there are parents who are just that pathetic, but their kid still doesn't deserve any points the kid didn't earn. Sorry. Even tiny little kids know when they deserve something, or not. We're not fooling anybody but their parents.
     
  22. jb7077

    jb7077 Rookie

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    Nov 7, 2006

    I award "participation points" as extra credit. For students on the border, these will help pull them up.
     
  23. Mr. M

    Mr. M Rookie

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    I don't like the idea of changing grades in retrospect. If, at the end of a grading period, a kid's grade is a 67 and you want her to have a 70, then just override the 67 and give her a 70. There is a lot of gray area between an F and a D, especially with regard to how high an F your administration will support.

    If the student has been keeping track of her grades, she'll realize the 70 was a gift, likely born of her hard work, punctuality, positive participation, etc. Her level of mastery, though, is not adequate...and she will know this, too. It's better if she realizes she didn't quite master the material and KNOWS SHE NEEDS TO WORK A LITTLE HARDER NEXT TIME.
     
  24. Texas512

    Texas512 Rookie

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    I have no issues with adjusting borderline grades for students who have put in a great deal of effort and participation. What would bother me is if that policy was not being applied fairly at all of the grade borders. This is my first year teaching and I decided this past marking period that if it is acceptable to adjust failing grades to passing, then it is only fair to give the same consideration to hard working students who fall just below a C, B or A.
     
  25. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    Is there anyway you can give them an incomplete and have them do additional work to earn their grade. Failing is pretty hard if you are trying. Unless, you are misplaced, and should have been say, held back in sixth grade but the teacher, decided that since you worked hard he would just bump up your grade so you could try your hand at seventh grade where the material only gets harder. I say you give them their gift but make sure they do know it. Tell them that you expect them to work much harder too, for there will not be another gift waiting at the end of the next quarter. Unless, if they continue to fail you will keep bumping their grade so they can squeeze into eighth grade.
     
  26. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    that reads harsh, I didn't intend that tone.
     
  27. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Don't you hate when that happens? :)
     
  28. AngelEyes

    AngelEyes Rookie

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    I never once considered giving students anything other than what they earned until I was student teaching in middle school. The teacher actually gave students who had a 15 or 16 percent a 65. It was still failing, but it gave them 'hope' to be able and bring their grades up after the initial shock. I was appalled. If a child sits in his seat and doesn't even lift a pencil, then why shouldn't he receive a 0? If we believe our grading system is fair, then why should we do this? I mean, it's one thing to round a grade up or grade on a curve, but to just GIVE 50 percentage points??? I don't get it.
     
  29. kamteach5

    kamteach5 Rookie

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    Nov 16, 2006

    My partner teacher and I have just struggled with this issue. What a relief to know others have struggled with it as well. We have started a weekly participation grade and feel it is really valid because Joey who works so hard gets credit while Julia who is lazy and does very little if any classwork receive their just rewards. We document behavior and work habits so when Julia's mother wants to know why she isn't passing when Joey is (because as she put it we all know Joey isn't the sharpest tack in the box-why is he passing and Julia isn't) A bonus-Julia is trying much harder and often comes in to see her participation grade.
     

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