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Changing grades requires faculty communication

Choosing to alter a student’s grade after a low score on a test or assignment is always a controversial subject among teachers. They want their students to succeed to demonstrate that they are learning the material properly and that they are ready for the next step in the learning process.

However, many school faculties are more concerned about the repercussions of low grades than the benefits of high ones. A student failing a class means that they cannot participate in extracurricular activities, advance to the next class or even graduate. It also makes the school look bad and means they’ll might receive some nasty phone calls from the student’s parents soon.

Some schools avoid this through controversial methods such as having a teacher grade on a curve. However, there are some instances where a student’s grades need drastic changes for one reason or another. In these scenarios, communication between the staff members is crucial to determine what actions are necessary. Failure to inform the right people can result in several consequences.

A principal without permission

Recently, the principal and assistant principal of one of the largest high schools in Palm Beach came under fire after they were recently discovered changing the students’ grades. Between 2016 to 2018, they raised the grades of at least 11 students without consulting the teachers or supervisor. The assistant principal claimed that they did this because the teachers were unfairly grading the students and targeting particular ones out of personal bias. The school removed both administrators from the staff.

While the investigation is still going on, The Palm Beach Post did highlight some of the changes and how they may have affected the school. One student went to having an F to a C in a literature class, while another one in sports went from a D to an A. They also noted that the school’s overall grade was an “A” last year during the alterations.

Talking to the right people

Changing a student’s grade isn’t completely illegal. The primary reason that the principal and assistant principal were punished is because they violated grade-changing policies by not discussing the matter with the necessary parties. They should have talked to the teachers first instead of changing a student’s grade without their knowledge and consent. While they can still change a grade with a teacher’s permission, they still needed to discuss the matter with their supervisors.

Florida is a state where incidents like these are prone to happen frequently from how much the media highlights the failures of the students. While there are some instances where it’s the teacher’s fault a student is falling behind, principals and other administrators should still try and communicate with them when it comes to changing teaching methods or changing a student’s grade. Not doing so could harm their careers and the school’s reputation.

Teachers that are experiencing retaliation by an administrator for their methods should consider consulting with an education law attorney to see how well their case would hold up in court.

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