Sunday, November 11, 2007

Grade Change

Connecticut's Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal has academic integrity on his mind these days. WTNH Team 8 Investigators have "uncovered" the possibility of a second school coercing teachers into changing student grades to suit the administrators' needs.
The article quotes one teacher and the Teacher's Union President. Hardly enough to build a solid case. However, I wonder what constitutes "asked to do something to get the grade change." If the adminstrator or counselor comes to a teacher and says, "Listen, Johnny here is at a 55% percent in your class, but without this credit, he doesn't graduate. Is there something you can do to help Johnny get to a passing score," is that pressure?

Or, if the administrator comes to a teacher and says, "Mr. McNamar, Liz is half a credit short of graduation. She has a 55% in your class. What kind of kid is she? Did she make improvement from first semester to second? Was she a hard working kid?" is that pressure?

I have never been pressured to change a grade, so I can't speak to what a techer might feel if pressed to pass an undeserving student. But here's what I can say. I don't think my academic integrity is any more questionable if I were to move a student from a 55% to a 60% than if I were to offer some lame "extra credit" opportunity to my students. It certainly comes down to professional judgement. In the end, I don't think I would mind if an administrator came on behalf of a student. But, I would mind if the grade was changed without my consent. That would be a whole different issue.


At 7:55 PM , Blogger Ms. V. said...

We are the end of a dying breed. I don't offer extra credit ever. Well, I do say that if you've written 4 extra times in your semper every week of the trimester, that would be considered extra credit. A whole half of a grade.

Not once has a student taken me up on it. No one.

I've never been pressured to change a grade. From what I've seen, it never really helps the student in the long run.

At 4:26 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been pressured to change grades of undeserving students so that administration did not have to deal with parental hassle. I am sure it did not help the students in the long run; they've simply been rewarded for being lazy children with irresponsible parents.

At 3:27 PM , Blogger Joe said...

Wait a second, I'm a bit flummoxed by something in this post. When I was a kid in Catholic Grammar school, the passing grade was 75%. when I got to high school and throughout my teaching career, the passing grade was 65%--which it still is in NYC Public Schools. Are you telling me that passing grade where you are is now 60%!!! Is that part of the new "higher expectations" brought about by Nickelby (NCLB)?


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