Getting Discouraged about Grade Change Ethics

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ms., Apr 23, 2010.

  1. ms.

    ms. Comrade

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    Apr 23, 2010

    I was at a conference (teaching related) and we were talking about changing grades for sports players. Most of the teachers said that if their principals ask them they say, tell me what grade to give him or her and I'll change it. This was not a hypothetical conversation, we were talking about actual experiences with this.

    I always give my students a chance to improve their grade, and I send letters to parents when a student has a low grade or is missing many assignments. I don't have a problem with my students making up work to turn over a new leaf. However, I will not give someone a passing grade just because they are the star football/basketball/sports player.

    I'm just flat out disgusted with this; not to mention I've seen the negative effects. I've seen too many students receives a sports scholarship to a university, and then sadly fail out first semester.

    Anyway, I understand their worries about not wanting to lose their job. Changing the grade is an easy thing; however I'm worried about possible fallout if the said student then fails and someone asks me "why did you pass student X, show me their work samples, etc." Is their a solution to this age old problem?

    Am I crazy to not want to flat-out change a grade - just so the student can stay on the sports team.
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Apr 23, 2010


    From my experiences, I cannot imagine anyone questioning a teacher to the point of asking for work samples. Or questioning at all. Not that someone shouldn't, but the fact of the matter is, this attitude is widespread and that's really too bad.

    Are you crazy? Absolutely not. I feel safe to say that most of us certainly agree with you.
     
  4. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Apr 23, 2010

    I'm glad to say that I haven't had to deal with this. Our current administration stands behind academics 100%, and has never asked me to change anything. I'll admit... I'd be upset if he did, and would feel very uncomfortable changing a grade under such circumstances. And so I'm glad that I haven't ever been placed in that situation.
     
  5. ms.

    ms. Comrade

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    Thank you for confirming I'm not crazy. :)

    I'm more of a fan of trying to prevent these types of issues. I just miss my student teaching school - the football coaches would be on my side 100% and make the student finish their work and apologize! :D The assistant football coach was the Dean of Students, and if he saw that one of his players was missing anything boy would that student be in trouble.
     
  6. Grover

    Grover Cohort

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    Easy solution: if the principal asks you to change a football player's grade, change everyone's grade.
     
  7. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I wouldn't go for that solution either (if you were serious)...
     
  8. ms.

    ms. Comrade

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    Apr 23, 2010

    I only wish - :lol:

    It would be funny - but I don't think I would really do this. :D

    But, at least this made me smile! (Everything has been so doom and gloom lately with jobs being cut left and right.)
     
  9. Grover

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    Oh, go for it. After all, the principal can hardly fire you for doing what he asked. If he/she gets particular, just say you understood the general idea of the request, but were a little hazy on the details.
     
  10. ms.

    ms. Comrade

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    Apr 24, 2010

    Maybe when (or if) I'm tenured... but for now I'll leave it to the brave. I'm more of one to take the middle road: that is the student turns in enough assignments for me to give them a grade - but no points off for being late.
     
  11. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    This is a point where tenure and unions are a really good thing. I'd raise heck over such a request.


    Fortunately, I have a principle and coaches who strongly believe that grades come first. Our football team even has a life skills curriculum that they teach their players. We really do have a great sports program at my school.
     
  12. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Apr 24, 2010

    During the year I spent teaching high school, I found the prevailing attitude to be the opposite of what everyone here is describing.

    They believed (rightly so) that one of the reasons that sports existed was to motivate many students to get better grades.

    In other words, I did not give students passing grades in order for them to play football, but rather, their existence on the football team was partly to motivate them to pass my class and others like it. I actually overheard conversations that went like this: "Maybe if he makes the football team, he'll have a reason to keep his grades up..."

    Of course, we got killed on courts and fields throughout the region every year, but nobody really seemed to mind. I think that's because we often saw guys who got D's and F's throughout middle school actually work when they were in high school in order to maintain a C average and probably graduated as a result.
     
  13. newbie87

    newbie87 Comrade

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    I've never worked with students that are of the age where this would be an issue, but schoola I've attended or know about have an attitude of you don't fail athletes. In an area where this is the mentality it goes all the way up to the principal. Just as I know towns where you could tell a PARENT your son is failing but we're passing him because he's the star whatever player. The parent could careless. So, I think if you, the general you, finds yourself in such a situation you can not openly show opposition to this mentality. While I don't think I could do it morally, or work for a school like that, I think I could see how someone would do if they're job depended on it and there no options. This is part of why, and I know people get annoyed when I say this, I refuse to work with students over a certain age. I can't be invovled in this type of drama and you don't get this type of drama with children who are under 10.
     
  14. ms.

    ms. Comrade

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    This was definitely the case at the high school I attended, and the school I student taught at.

    However, this is sadly not the case at some of the schools in the area I am in now. I just am disgusted by the lack of ethics at these schools, I think they have lost sight in the point of schools (to learn.)
     
  15. ms.

    ms. Comrade

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    I just wish schools with these mentalities were upfront about their [lack of] ethics. However, with HR staff on hand recording the interviews it's just not going to happen as much. Also, you can't just assume this is the mentality because the school has a good sports team. I've been at a school with one of the top football teams in the state and they made the student earn passing grades. The had grade checks every week, and if a student had below a C they had to stay in during lunch and finish their work.
     
  16. Toak

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    I know of many teachers who left the local catholic high school in my area because they were told that if a student asked for their grade to be changed, they had to tell the student that they wouldn't do that, and then they had to change the grade on their report card. That school was also well known for "recruiting" athletes from the public schools
     
  17. Irissa

    Irissa Cohort

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    Actually you can get this with kids under 10. A principal I know of asked a teacher to not fail any special needs students, even though said students were accommodated way more than their IEP required. Lazy students are everywhere.
     
  18. ms.

    ms. Comrade

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    Well, there is such thing as balance. I had a fellow special needs teacher at my student teaching school who would fail 75% of her special needs students - only one student had a B in all of her classes. My co-op teacher told me the school was just waiting for her to retire. My special needs students could barely put a period at the end of their sentences/ had almost no reading comprehension, but she felt it was her job to teach them college level grammar: for example she spent a week teaching them the difference between a transitive and an intransitive verb. (This was a very low ability level group.) :huh:

    Although I don't know all the details in your situation (for example if the principal flat-out said: never fail a special needs student.) But I would have a lot less of a problem giving a C to a student with cognitive special need vs. a student who believes they are above doing classwork since they are a popular sports "star."
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Apr 24, 2010

    Threads like this one make me want to give my principal a hug.

    No grade changes. Athletes pass on their own or they don't play. As does everyone else.
     
  20. Irissa

    Irissa Cohort

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    Apr 25, 2010

    I have a problem giving a C to ANY student who feels they are above doing classwork. Give me effort, I'll give you a break.
    This was a friends classroom. Principal said no special needs student should make below a 65 (D). So even though this was a regular ed inclusion class and had 3 teachers with much individualization about 3 students just wouldn't work.
     

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