Lately the Alliance has received a number of questions about whether or not an administrator can require a teacher to maintain a failure rate of less than 10%. The answer is no. There is not an SAISD policy, administrative procedure, or state law that states that an educator’s failure rate should be lower than a specific percentage.
A student’s grade should be based on the “mastery of the curriculum.” [SAISD Board Policy EIE (Local)] The goal is real results for our students. We want students to be successful. We do not want students to get discouraged, especially when they are working hard and putting forth an effort. Neither do we want to give students a false impression that they are mastering the curriculum if they are not.
Texas Education Code 28.0216 and SAISD Board Policy EIA (Legal) state, “The district shall adopt a grading policy, including provisions for the assignment of grades on class assignments and examinations, before each school year. The District grading policy:
1) Must require a classroom teacher to assign a grade that reflects the student’s relative mastery of an assignment;
2) May not require a classroom teacher to assign a minimum grade for an assignment without regard to the student’s quality of work; and
3) May allow a student a reasonable opportunity to make up or redo a class assignment or examination for which the student received a failing grade.”
SAISD Administrative Procedure E-20 provides details about the “reasonable opportunity” standard:
“In accordance with EIA (LOCAL), a student must be permitted a reasonable opportunity to redo an assignment or retake a test for which the student received a grade less than 70. Following additional instruction or intervention, students will have one opportunity to redo one failing assignment in each subject per grading period; however, a teacher may, at the teacher’s discretion, permit students to redo additional failing assignments. Following additional instruction or intervention, students will have one opportunity to retake one failing test (examination) in each subject per grading period; however, a teacher may, at his or her discretion, permit students to redo additional failing tests (examinations). If the grade on the retake assignment or test (examination) is 70 or above, then the original grade shall be replaced and recorded as a 70. If the grade on the retake assignment or test (examination) is below 70, then the higher of two grades shall be recorded.”
SAISD Administrative Procedure E-20 also provides specifics regarding required number of grades, grade weighting, etc.
Texas Education Code 33.081 and Board Policy state, “an 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.”