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Teacher_26 01-11-2021 09:30 AM

Principal changed grades
 
Hi, everyone! I have some questions about grading policies and ethics prior to Covid-19.

A while back, I moved to NC and was hired for a teaching position in an inner-city school. The position had been unfilled for several years, which was a huge red flag. The behavioral issues were out of control and some of the students were violent. The administration made it worse by discouraging discipline and undermining teachers' authority. Most of the students didn't do any work at all and there was an unspoken rule that teachers were supposed to arbitrarily write in false grades for missing work.

To make matters worse, the grades were supposed to be based on our personal opinions of each student. Basically, "guessing" what the students would have received if they handed in work. The vice principal even asked me to change failing test grades to 20 or 30 points higher. I balked at that since these "methods" were teaching students to be unmotivated, not study, and not hand in any work. The students have caught on to the system and it's encouraging bad behavior and low standards. When I refused to change grades, the principal entered false grades in the system. I'm sorry, but this seems illegal or incredibly unethical.

Does anyone know if grade tampering is legal in NC or how I would find out? I refused to participate and was afraid I'd be fired for refusing or be held responsible for the principal's actions. I reached out to the state BOE and got the runaround. The union won't help either. Shouldn't there be a law on grade tampering or falsification? I found news articles in my state where school officials got in trouble for such actions, but can't find the law supporting this. How do I find out? Thanks for your help!

sbslab 01-11-2021 01:54 PM

I’m in a private school, so our policies differ. I have no advice, but I empathize.

One year one of my students did not pass the written requirements for his terminal grade in our school. Principal let him walk in graduation. I can’t remember, but I think he might have actually gotten a diploma as the policy was summer school for failed core subject classes.

I refused to sign the permanent record card. The child did NOT pass. I would not lie on a legal record. I put a post-it on that card and left it on the top of the pile on the P’s desk. I don’t know if he signed it - or even signed my name, but I did not do it.

Englishish 01-11-2021 03:23 PM

Yuck, yuck, and more yuck. Is it legal for students to be graded this way? Possibly. I can't imagine there is any specific language in the state statutes dealing with how grades are to be calculated. Is it ethical? Not a chance. Even the best calculated grades are fuzzy estimates of what a student truly knows, but they're the best measure we have. Assigning grades based on what seems to be intuition or leniency run amok. I would do exactly what you did, which is to document and reach out to whatever governing body may be able to give you some help.

Strewvkigf 01-11-2021 05:07 PM

Not illegal
 
It is allowed in NC. Our grades were due last week and our principal said that he never has changed a grade and he never would, but we needed to show grace. But it definitely is allowed here. Sorry.

Regular poster but signed out

hiker1 01-11-2021 06:20 PM

If there is an office of inspector general with your school system then would contact them.

Teacher_26 01-12-2021 07:43 AM

Thanks for the reply. I'm fine with it being legal, but the principal made it look like I changed the grades. If it's legal, he should be doing it on his end and taking responsibility for it. Originally, the vice principal said she wanted to change a grade, so I figured that meant on her end. When I confronted her as to why the grade was left unchanged, she said that only teachers had the power to change grades and that teacher grade books were off limits to administration. Then after school when my grade book was up on my computer, she came in and ordered another teacher to go into my grade book and change grades against my will while she oversaw it. That reeks of unethical behavior to me. If it was legal, the administration would be doing it on their end. Instead they're making it look like I changed the grades, which suggests to me they have no authority to do so. I'm just trying to clarify if this is correct so I don't get left holding the bag.

Teacher_26 01-12-2021 07:51 AM

Thanks for the tip! I didn't think of this avenue, but will definitely look into it.

hiker1 01-14-2021 04:58 PM

Can you change it back?

Nietzsche 01-17-2021 09:41 AM

I had a principal change a grade and didn't tell me. I accidentally discovered it.

Teacher_26 01-19-2021 10:45 AM

Reply to hiker1
 
If I tried to change it back, I'm pretty sure I'd be fired since the order came directly from the principal. The vice principal made it clear that I didn't have a choice. The other problem is they manipulated so many grades throughout my grade book that I'm not sure which of my students had their grades changed. Since my grade book is my main record of most of my grades, I basically lost my master record to compare it against. I just know that most of my students' final grades were much higher than they had been, but don't know which assignments/test grades were individually altered. We're talking about grades on nearly 80 students.

me as guest 01-21-2021 01:14 AM

suggestion for future
 
If it is feasible, download, save or screenshot your gradebook. It would be a lot of work if you needed to check everything but you would have something to go on.


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