The principal of Lafayette high school has reduced student Earth Science classroom grades 10 to 15 points if they failed the Earth Science Regents. While I question the principal's wisdom in changing student grades without teacher discussion and input, I'm more concerned with DOE's response to the event. According to DOE, the policy is that the Regents should be 33% of the classroom grade. I have been teaching a decade and have never heard of this. In fact the Regents was not part of the classroom grade at all!
Granted if a student tanked on the Regents (less than 50%), our policy was to reverse any passing grade to a failure since the student did not possess an adequate knowledge of the subject.
Further, some students who passed the Regents had their failing grade reversed if they were close to passing. However, I have never read or was verbally informed that the DOE had a policy that the Regents is 33% of the classroom grade! In fact, final grades must be bubbled in days before the Regents is given and maybe more than a week before the Regents is marked! Just imagine the chaos if teachers were required to incorporate the Regents scores into the classroom grade.
Lets take an example of how DOE's policy works. First, you give student X a classroom grade of 75%. A week later after you finished marking the Regents, Student X received a 52%. How do you deterimine the final grade? Easy if you are a math and science teacher.
Final Grade = 75(.67) + 52(.33) = 67%
Student X passed but now do this for 125 students at the end of the Regents week and then have to bubble in the grades. Rush, rush, rush, mistakes are very likely and the stress on the classroom teachers trying to complete the paperwork for the year is greatly increased.
Finally, all teachers should know that a principal can change a grade but they first must consult with the teachers and must justify, in writing to the teacher, why the grade was changed. A principal cannot just change a grade because they want to.
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