Teachers dispute claims about grade-bump policy - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Teachers dispute claims about grade-bump policy

A school spokesman says the grade scale policy only applied at the elementary level and it was stopped a year ago. (Source: WAFF file) A school spokesman says the grade scale policy only applied at the elementary level and it was stopped a year ago. (Source: WAFF file)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

New allegations have surfaced about grade changing in Huntsville City Schools.

Several teachers have called or emailed since we first talked to a retired teacher who had a student's grade raised from a 46 to a 50 by administrators.

A school spokesman says the grade scale policy only applied at the elementary level and it was stopped a year ago.

That is being disputed by school workers who are coming forward with claims that grades were also raised at the middle school level.

A former school employee also came forward to say the policy also hurt special ed students.

Many want to come forward but can't because they say they still need their jobs, even when they disagree with what this policy means for students and their parents.

"If we don't have integrity in academics then why would we bother," said the former employee, who did not want to be identified.

It all goes back to a grading scale policy for students that was spelled out in an email to teachers at one elementary school. It says that no grades should be lower than a 50, even if the child scores fell below.

In one case, a retired teacher says a 1st grader's 46 in reading was changed by someone in the administration at the end of the year to a 50, which allowed the student to pass on to the second grade not based on their merit.

"Why would you want to at such an early age, convince someone that anything they turn out they are still going forward," said the former employee who worked as support staff with special education students who they say this policy hurt more.

They claim students who would otherwise be classified special ed would never qualify because their grades had already been changed by teachers.

"When you move the scores that takes them out for being eligible for the process because it shows growth and in those meetings if you've shown growth then you don't need to be evaluated for special ed because you'll be ok," said the former employee.

'OK' meant they never got the extra help they needed.

"Where are we going to put them? You have so many schools and so many classrooms and out of 200 first graders, I'm going to have to leave back 40 or 50, where are you going to put them. Now this child's progress is not his problem, it's not the systems problem, it's my problem, they are going to say I didn't teach," said the former employee.

Huntsville City Schools has not yet responded to this claim and did not deny or confirm that an administrator changed the teacher's grade.

This 50 percent policy stopped last year for students kindergarten through 2nd grade, and will stop for all elementary students this year.

However, this former employee said it still doesn't address the fact that many students have been passed into the next grade when they should not have.

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