Report cards for the first reporting period of the academic year recently went home for parent review. The question is, were these grades a true reflection of student progress? A number of teachers have reported they were directly or subtly made to understand that “every student will do well.”
A teacher recently wrote ISR to say that after a student achieved 4 ‘Ds’ on a series of exams, she was instructed to alter her method of grading and count each ‘D’ as two points. On a scale of 1-10, the four ‘Ds’ added up to eight or 80%, which equaled a report card grade of ‘B.’
Another teacher reports that he gave his student a ‘C’ on the report card and later noticed the grade had been changed to an ‘A’. When he questioned the director he was told, “This is an honor student, and to help you save face we raised the grade to what this student would have earned if you were a better teacher.”
Altering kids’ grades to keep the paying customers (aka: parents) happy is certainly the exception and not the norm. But the practice may be far more prevalent than previously assumed. ISR recently received a letter from a teacher outlining how his school expected teachers to alter the grades of a few students on a special list, “the wealthy and/or powerful client list.” This teacher felt belittled and betrayed, but also extremely concerned for these same students naively applying, and being accepted to Western universities.
Have you personally been asked to alter grades? What’s your school’s policy? In the end, teachers may experience a conflict of conscience in the short-term, but ultimately it’s the students who suffer from this deception. Exposing schools that encourage grade fixing on ISR reviews is one step toward curbing this practice. What are YOUR thoughts and experiences with grade fixing?