I'd love to hear an Administrator's opinion on a policy...

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by Tookie Williams, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. Tookie Williams

    Tookie Williams Rookie

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    ... of teachers not allowed to record below a certain number

    Our highest F is a 59 and while I know it's different from place to place, I'm going to use that in my examples...

    So if a kid earns a 15 on his chapter test, with this policy, they wouldn't be able to record below a 55 grade.

    Tell me. I hear the theory behind it, that it allows a kid to not sink himself by the end of the 2nd nine weeks, but when you were teachers, (I'm talking to admin here obviously), would you have wanted to let someone else tell you what grade you can record.

    Now, on to enforcement of this policy...

    How does admin enforce this. I hold the belief that my gradebook is the final say in attendance, tardies, and grades. I hear there are some places that say it's a district policy that they can't record below a certain grade. I, personally would have to see that written somewhere, and even then, I'd fight it. I personally think that most admins just let teachers think it's a policy when it's not. I don't see how it could pass the union. And even if it did, I would question it's legality.

    So what happens, if this is a policy, when a teacher does not follow it and records lower? Now, I can understand what could happen for an annual contracted teacher... they simply aren't hired back. But what happens when a tenured teacher doesn't follow this policy?


    just curious
     
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  3. cmorris

    cmorris Comrade

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    I'm not an administrator, but I know round-about what my admin would say. She would say that you have to follow policy or find a new district, regardless if that policy concerns grades or something else. Plus, administration can change the grade if they find out the policy isn't being followed. The teacher could receive a written reprimand that goes in their file. I don't see how it is illegal, since it is evenly applied. Our state doesn't allow unions, so I don't know the answer to that one.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    We have no unions in the Catholic school in which I teach. But I'm hoping that I wouldn't be the kind of teacher who would change my behavior because of my membership in a union.

    Our policy is similar: on 1st and 2nd trimester report card, the lowest score which can usually be recorded is a 60 (passing is 65) However, on the final report card, the grade they get is the grade they've earned.

    I'm OK with it. A student who has gotten a series of 15's during the year isn't going to do incredibly well on the Comprehensive exam which counts as half the year's grades. He's simply not going to pass-- he won't know enough.

    BUT... in theory, it's possible. So there's incentive to change the behavior. Otherwise, by Christmas that 15% on a report card would put him mathematically out of the running-- why bother to be good for 6 months?

    And, for what it's worth, I have a real problem with teachers making their own policies. If you don't like it, get like-minded teachers together and do something about it. But I hate the thought of teaching our kids that there are definite rules in our classrooms, but that the rules that govern our behavior are flexible. Fix it, don't circumvent it.
     
  5. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I am not understanding this. If you can't record a score beneath a certain number, and the student earns a score beneath that "magic" number, then WHAT do you record?
     
  6. cmorris

    cmorris Comrade

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    If the lowest grade you can record is a 60, and a child earns a 20, you record a 60 instead. At my school, the child's paper would still have a 20 marked on it, but the gradebook would show a 60.
     
  7. Tookie Williams

    Tookie Williams Rookie

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    you record the lowest grade allowed.

    If you can't record anything below a 55, then an earned grade of a 0 - 55 earns a 55.

    Maybe it's different from district to district, but I have never heard of an admin being able to change your grade without permission. They aren't the ones in the class teaching the student. I am. They can "administratively place" a child up a grade, despite whether or not they passed or failed, but the actual grade stays the same. It's just unheard of and to me, borderline unethical. They can strongly encourage you to change it, and depending on if you are tenured or not makes a big difference in how readily the teacher changes the grade.

    And FWIW - I am not speaking about private school situations as that falls under a completely different umbrella in my opinion. I am speaking from a public school teacher standpoint.
     
  8. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    I teach in a public school. Admins in my school HAVE changed grades over strong teacher feelings.
     
  9. cmorris

    cmorris Comrade

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    I'm in public school as well. Districts/schools can have grading policies and admin can change grades. When I had a child that wasn't doing so well in my class, I was told that I had to offer extra credit to this one particular child. My policy was no extra credit except a problem here or there on a quiz/test, in particular to the above issue. I also send home grades on a bi-weekly basis, and that didn't matter. I still had to change that! It's part of the politics that go along with teaching.
     
  10. Tookie Williams

    Tookie Williams Rookie

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    also, just so people know, I do tend to follow the policy that I set myself. I just take exception to someone NOT in the classroom dictating to me what grade I can and can not record.
     
  11. Tookie Williams

    Tookie Williams Rookie

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    Noone can tell you to give extra credit, pass a kid who fails, no matter who they are. It's unethical. If you choose to cave to political pressure, that's one thing. But if the admin could change the grade without permission, why did the teachers even have to have strong feelings against it? Why would they even have to know?

    It's because they had to get that "Yes" from the teacher. Of course, they aren't going to tell you that, but it's true.

    Also, FWIW - I have changed a grade back in my annual contracted days, to make the principal happy. I don't get asked anymore though
     
  12. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Not recording the actual grade earned is what seems to me to be unethical. At the very least, it is dishonest.
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I agree. I don't buy the "incentive" argument because I think it gives kids the idea that they will be rewarded for sub par work or no work at all.

    In the real world, if you were at your office job and submitted a careless or half-baked report, the best thing that can happen is that you'll get written up; more likely, you'll get fired. Is that the message we want to send to our kids?
     
  14. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Actually, the teacher didn't agree. Because we submit our grades electronically, admin can go in and change grades.
     
  15. Superteacher81

    Superteacher81 Comrade

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    Exactly! It kind of goes back to the argument of rewarding every child for participating whether they win or lose due to "self-esteem", etc. As far as the grades go, it's not fair because a child can sit on their butt, do nothing, and still get recorded grades of 60? It really doesn't seem right at all when the kid that got a 70 might have worked really hard to earn that 70.
     
  16. Tookie Williams

    Tookie Williams Rookie

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    she should have fought it then. Chances are, she was 'bullied' into accepting it due to the fact that she wanted tenure. If she already had tenure, and let it go, she has no backbone. Admin has no right to change grades or pressure you to give bonus. They are a principal teacher, TEACHER being the operative word to focus on. Them saying to me "I don't agree with your grade, change it" translates to the parent makes more noise than the teacher would. AT this point of my career, there is no way my grades get changed. And if they get changed without my permission, by admin, guidance, student, then I will file a grievance or take whatever necessary steps to stop it.

    Now, do you think an admin 'giving grades away that weren't earned" would go over very well in the court of public opinion and the news?

    however, I am also smart enough to realize, even if I am not fired or let go due to tenure, I may find myself being a floating teacher. Teaching 3 preps, not getting hired back as the coach of the sport i love to coach (since that is annual contracts) Being critiqued EXTRA hard on stuff like turned in lesson plans and EGP's.

    I have been told by the head of the ESE dept, though, to "Just pass all the ESE kids" during retention meetings. I realize, that's not the principal saying it, though.
     
  17. Tookie Williams

    Tookie Williams Rookie

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    I didn't argue that he couldn't or didn't change the grade, I am simply arguing the ethics behind ANDYONE OTHER THAN THE TEACHER changing that grade.
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    While I disagree with the policy, I think that there may be cases where a person just has to accept it until they are able to change it. If it's an official policy on the books, a teacher is obligated by his or her contract to enforce it. I know that I can be fired for insubordination, and refusal to comply with district policy sounds like insubordination to me.

    Now, if it is more of a de facto policy, then the teacher might consider consulting a union rep if the teacher belongs to a union. Usually the union gives great advice about whether a particular battle is one worth fighting or whether the teacher would be better off conceding the point. For instance, if there's intimidation or something involved, the union will probably step up and make it an issue worth taking on. If, on the other hand, it's the standard practice of the administrators in the district, the union might advise the teacher to let this one go.

    It's a sad fact, but teaching is just as political as any other job, and perhaps more so.
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I wasn't arguing with you. I was just adding in my thoughts on the issue.
     
  20. holliday

    holliday Comrade

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    This very issue has just exploded here in Albuquerque where I live. A high school teacher refused to pass a`student (a senior) because he failed the course AND apparently missed an inordinate amount of class -- w/out making up work.
    Anyway, both of this boy's parents are public officials and the mom pitched a fit, went to the principal (who stood by the teacher) & when that didn't work, she took it to the cluster leader and then the superintendent. Her story was that the parents were never informed in advance that the student was in danger of failing. The grade was changed and the rest of us teachers got an earful about how we need a clear policy regarding parent notification.

    Now, realize this story played out for weeks in our papers and local newscasts. The clear message was that this poor boy/family were victims of a mean teacher with no compassion. Eventually, however, it came to light that the teacher had contacted the parents at least 5 times regarding his failing grade. She also went WAY above and beyond trying to help him pass (she let him retake the final, cut off part of the requirements, let him TAKE IT HOME...etc.). Anyway, the superintendent had to then retract her earlier assertion that the teacher was at fault and the parents came off looking like meddling bullies who used their political influence to get their lazy son out of trouble.

    This was a case of totally disregarding the professional opinion of the person who best knows whether a student has met the requirements of the course. I can only imagine how disillusioned this veteren teacher must feel this summer as she considers how little her years of experience and her hard work with this particular student counted when parents made a little racket. You hope your higher ups will back you when you make a decision (which, in this case, they eventually did but only after making her look like a capricious and cruel teacher out to ruin a young man's life).

    This is an extreme case...but food for thought. It took up about a month of front page news space here. I think administrators will be pretty gun shy in this city when asked by a parent to change a grade. The fallout has been ugly. Our superintendend just announced her retirement today!
     
  21. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    My concern would be this...if papers that go home are marked as a 20 and the gradebook reflects a 59...how do you ever justify grades to parents? They argue with a D and in actuality it's an F, and you just don't have the numbers to back up either grade. Can get pretty ugly, I'd bet.
    Kim
     
  22. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I got a few zeros in school growing up. One I remember I couldn't hear. I asked for it to be written down from that point on. That teacher was nice enough to comply. Another one I remember the teacher asked whose paper it was. I didn't know she was talking. Even after someone identified the paper for me and even though she knew I was very hard of hearing, she threw the TEST away. I had a few more similar stories. Oops. I still made it.
     

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