NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- A new grading policy at New Rochelle High School, obtained by Talk of the Sound, makes it almost impossible for teachers to fail a student, even if a student never attends class. This according to veteran teachers concerned about grade manipulation at the school.
Under the new policy, teachers are no longer permitted to put an "E" down as a grade for students with excessive absences. Teachers must now put down a number or letter grade and the lowest permissible grade is 50.
However, teachers say they are being directed to put down F instead of 50. A grade of F is then converted to a 55.
In other words, no student, even one who never attends class, never turns in an assignment and never sits for an exam is guaranteed a 55 which, in effect, says the student took the class and failed and is thus eligible for summer school.
Having thus converted a grade between 0 and 50 to a 55, another aspect of the policy kicks in.
Teachers are required under the policy to enter 65, a passing grade, for any grade between 62-64. Not stated in the policy, according to multiple teachers at the high school, is that teachers are being pressured by department heads to increase a grade between 59 and 61 to a 62. As a result, a student with a 59 will be given a 65 and deemed to have passed the class.
Only students with a grade between 55, the new minimum grade, and 58 could potentially fail a class but even they can convert that F to a 65 by adding 1 to 4 points to their grade over the summer. As a result, it is almost impossible for a student to fail a class at New Rochelle High School.
Teachers have expressed concerns not only for the students being passed along without learning the material but for themselves as they are being evaluated on the performance of these students, youngsters who do not attend class and are thus unable to pass School Final Exams or Regents exams.
There have been questions for years about grade inflation at New Rochelle High School.
Several years ago, New York State eliminated the issuance of "local diplomas" and required all students to meet the more rigorous requirement of a Regents diploma. Despite a higher standard to earn a diploma which should have lowered the number of students earning a diploma, the graduation rate at the school increased the year the new standards came into effect.
EDITORS NOTE: A senior school administrator tells Talk of the Sound that the policy is not "new". In particular that it was always the policy that teachers could not give a grade of E to a student who had excessive abensces but teachers ignored the policy and gave the E anyway. Teachers were instructed 3 years ago to stop entering a grade of E. Three veteran teachers have claimed otherwise. Readers will have to judge for themselves.