Monday, January 22, 2007


I just made up final grades for my class. This process should be very easy since I use excel. I enter grades as soon as I mark the exam and the computer figures out the average for me. So why do I stress so much? I want to be fair. I don't want to ruin a child's life by giving her a grade that is too low or too high. A grade too low can eventually keep her from getting into her dream college. A grade too high can give her a false sense of her knowledge or the amount of work she must do to earn the grade. I worry if my marks are really accurate enough to reflect a difference between a 94 and a 95 student. If a kid fails, I want to give that kid a 55, the highest failing grade possible. I don't want to give a grade that an average will be impossible to recover from. Principal Suit feels that a kid that gets a 55 will be able to pass the second term. He then wants to reverse the grade. I don't mind passing the kid that has made up the work, but Principal Suit seems to think every 55 can be made into a 65. I have some sweet kids in my classes. Sweet, but not too bright in math. I don't want to destroy transcripts so I give a 55. Then I look at the average and change the grade to 50. Then I change it back to 55. This will go on until I hand my grades in on Wednesday morning. I don't like having this power. I wish I could just teach and forget the grade part of the job.


Anonymous said...

My new principal has floated the idea of using letter grades instead of number grades. i'm not sure what I think, but I do see some potential positives - most of the things you've mentioned here. I see the difference between a B+ and a B more clearly than between an 87 and an 88 (we use single digits down to 85 in my school).

But somehow the letters make me nervous.

Dr. Homeslice said...


I am so there with you! Gotta love the change of heart grade entering exercise. I keep telling myself "I'm just the referee, I just keep score" but sometimes I do change grades for the better. I never change 'em for worse though.

Pissedoffteacher said...

And I never give a grade when I am in a PO'd mood. It wouldn't be fair.

Ironic said...

I have the same problem.
I failed a bunch of my seniors this trimester. Why? They either didn't show up or didn't do the work.
The administration chewed me out for, "unfair academic rigor," and then "asked" me to raise grades.
Doesn't matter anyway. If a kid fails, he or she only has to do 20 hours of ALC and gets a passing grade.
What is the message we're sending?

Pissedoffteacher said...

I am pretty sure our administration changes grades also, although I have no proof. Kids that we know have failed courses that they supposedly needed for graduation have graduated.

My friend teaches in a private school that has the same policy as your school She decided to pass some kids because they would only end up passing anyways and she wanted to avoid the extra work.