KB Reference Desk: Modifying Grades

Q:        Grades were due last week and report cards are set to go out in two days. The principal just learned that a teacher failed to comply with the district's grading policy and has only two daily grades and one test grade entered for the entire six-weeks, and over half of the students in the class are failing. Our grading policy requires at least 15 daily grades and 2 tests. Can the principal direct the teacher to issue each student an “Incomplete” and input additional grades for class participation?

A:        Likely yes. Board policy EIA (Legal) states, "[a]n examination or course grade issued by a classroom teacher is final and may not be changed unless the grade is arbitrary, erroneous, or not consistent with the district grading policy applicable to the grade, as determined by the board." 

While the Board has the authority to interpret its grading policy, per statute the principal is the instructional leader of the school. 19 TAC §149.2001. Thus, the principal has a duty to ensure proper implementation of the District's grading policy. In this case, because the grades were "not consistent with the district grading policy" the principal, through his instructional duties, has the authority to direct that a teacher change a student's grade, subject to board review. 

Unless a district has a specific procedure for grade review, board consideration of student grades typically occurs through the grievance process outlined in FNG (Legal) and (Local). There is no provision for the complaint to go straight to Level 3; however, should the grievance reach the board of trustees, the board's decision is final and not subject to appeal to the Commissioner of Education. Tex. Educ. Code §28.0214. Keep in mind, for purposes of UIL, the incomplete must be cleared within 7 days or the student will lose eligibility until a passing grade is assigned.