Home > Uncategorized > Shenanigans: How a teacher turned an A into a B in less than 24 hours

Shenanigans: How a teacher turned an A into a B in less than 24 hours

February 29, 2012

A student (let’s call him Al) worked hard in class and earned an A. But it was just barely an A. In fact, on the evening before the last day of the marking period, the grade was 93.01%. You can’t get an A much lower than that.

This irked the teacher. For some reason, the teacher was determined to give Al a B. And he in fact did change that grade from A to B in less than 24 hours, using techniques that included unorthodox micro-assessments, and even falsifying the date of a test.

You might think I am making this all up, but I have all of Al’s documentation. I wouldn’t be telling a story like this if I didn’t have it all documented. People just send me stuff.

This all happened on the last day of the marking period (the 25th). The night before, Al’s grade stood at 93.01%, a hard-won A.

But then on the last day, the teacher struck, attempting to tweak Al’s final average down to a B, by entering two bizarre micro-assessments:

Bizarre micro-assessment #1
First, the teacher inserted an assignment worth 3 points, engagingly titled “Working on DNA.” But this DNA had nothing to do with deoxyribonucleic acid. It stands for “Do Now Assignment.” It is some kind of question that must be answered and handed in immediately. It was so small and unremarkable Al didn’t remember it. It had only been given once before, months ago, and was never given again. And the teacher awarded Al 2 out of the 3 points. Al had in fact done the work, so even this teacher understood he couldn’t get away with awarding less than two points.

[…]

Bizarre micro-assessment #2
But there was a problem. The teacher checked the average and found that though Al’s grade had in fact been lowered, it was only lowered to 92.66149%. With rounding up, Al still had an A. This was not a math teacher, by the way.

So the teacher invented another micro-assessment and tried again. The next tweak was an assignment worth 3 points called “Focused on Objective during Group Work,” an assignment that had never been given before and was never given again. The teacher awarded Al 2 out of 3 points, because Al had in fact accomplished the group work.

That final tweak succeeded in bringing Al’s average down to a 92.40061%.

Finally, a B!!

Al strikes back
But then Al struck back. On that same day, in the final hours of the marking period, the teacher gave a test worth 100 points. And Al scored a 97%, giving him a clear A for the marking period.

But this was unacceptable to the teacher. He had one last trick up his sleeve, and abandoned any attempt to conceal what he was doing. What he did next was unbelievable:

He falsified the date of the test.

That’s right. The test that was given on the 25th, last day of the marking period, that would have removed all doubt about Al’s “A,” was instead recorded as if it had been given in the following week. Which meant the test was averaged into the next marking period, not the one in which it had been given.

It was as though a burglar, failing to pick the lock, decided just to smash down the door.

So Al finished the marking period with a grade of 92.40061%, and saw a B on his report card. Al’s parents noticed this happening, but decided to save their strength for more important battles.

How did the teacher get away with this? Bad faith, lack of clear policy, and poor local oversight.

Not to mention the most important lesson:

Had the teacher been required to enter the test into the system BEFORE it was due, the falsification would have been impossible. But current Red Clay policy does not require teachers to enter tests or assignments until days after they are due. And Al’s teacher took advantage of that loophole to indulge in academic dishonesty.

Fix the policy, in Red Clay and in your district too.

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  1. March 1, 2012 at 6:03 am

    Not to mention the most important lesson:

    Had the teacher been required to enter the test into the system BEFORE it was due, the falsification would have been impossible. But current Red Clay policy does not require teachers to enter tests or assignments until days after they are due. And Al’s teacher took advantage of that loophole to indulge in academic dishonesty.

    Fix the policy, in Red Clay and in your district too.

  1. March 29, 2012 at 3:40 pm
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