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Grading Students

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Joined: 15 Dec 2010
Posts: 132
Location: Indonesia

PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:31 am    Post subject: Grading Students Reply with quote

It's my first year at a private high school and I'm doing mid-term grades. When I told my Department head that some students would fail he asked if I could give them another test or some extra work to improve their grade. I'm mostly generous with grades, but some of my students can't even answer questions like; 'what makes you happy?' so no amount of extra work would help them at the moment.

I spoke with the other native teacher on staff who has been there for a few years and explained that if students fail, their parents complain to the Department Head and sometimes the teacher is blamed for the students inability to speak English. In those situations, it's possible for the teacher to be fired. So, the veteran teacher suggested we give them the lowest passing grade possible and don't rock the boat.

Even the grading system is lowered to accomodate weak students and make the grades look better. (100-85 = A, 84 - 75 = B, etc.). So, I give these students a 75 and pass them so everyone is happy.

I did this kind of thing in a language mill, but I didn't think I'd come across this in a high school which is supposed to be one of the best in Indonesia.

It discourages me as a teacher to have to do this, but I like my job and don't want to be made an example of because of the system.

Have many of you other teachers come across this situation? If so, what did you do?
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Yr of Living Dangerously

Joined: 09 Apr 2008
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:10 am    Post subject: How often? Reply with quote

This happened every 6 months for me at a prestigious primary school in Surabaya, where I taught Grade 5 and 6.

First of all, the school would ask me to "review" their scores and consider improving them. I would explain to them politely that some students' low score was not a reflection of their true ability, but because they were lazy and/or disruptive in class hence did not practice/learn the required skills to do well.

The school would then go behind my back and increase the scores anyway.

It made me wonder what parents would think when their child got decent scores but a negative comment from the teacher; fortunately, the school couldn't edit the comments, as school management also didn't speak English well enough.

As to your situation, my advice is to keep a record of the students' real scores and what they got in their report card. This is to cover your back, and so that if the parents complain in the future, you can show the scores you wanted to give. The problem will not go away in the future by giving the student a borderline pass.

My own experience is also that Indonesian parents are quicker to blame the expat teacher than the local teacher for the child's poor performance.

In addition, school management also listens to some expat teachers more than others. For example, at my school the female expats seemed to get more respect/opportunities than the men.
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Joined: 01 May 2011
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 5:06 am    Post subject: Quite Normal Reply with quote

Yeah, this is normal. I worked for a good Catholic school near Jakarta and the same thing happened. It is quite disheartening. But, in the end, it is whatever the admin wants.

I just would give them a 7 and let it go. Better than having the students bawling and mad parents.
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