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Principal stopped kids from getting marks that were 'too low'

Principal stopped kids from getting marks that were 'too low'

Published: 27 Jan 2012 07:16 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Jan 2012 07:16 GMT+01:00

The principal of a school in western Sweden is under investigation for unilaterally scrapping the marks given to a class of eighth graders because they were too low in comparison to other schools in the area.

In the wake of the principal's move, the students at the school, located in Uddevalla in western Sweden, still haven't received their final marks for the autumn term in home economics, which left teachers fuming.

"The teacher has been prohibited from setting grades and therefore obstructed in exercising his authority," Annica Levander of Sweden's National Union of Teachers (Lärarnas riksförbund) told the local Bohusläningen newspaper.

"This compromises fairness for students and the ability of teachers to do their jobs."

According to Levander, the issue of low grades was apparent far earlier in the term, but the principal chose not to intervene.

By choosing only to act at the end of the term and by simply overruling the teachers' assessment, the principal has interfered with the teacher's authority.

"He stepped on the brakes too late," Levander said.

The teachers union has now reported the incident to the Swedish School's Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen) and the Parliamentary Ombudsman (Justitieombudsmannen).

The Swedish School's Inspectorate hasn't begun a formal investigation yet, as it is waiting for official documentation, but project manager Elisabeth Porath Sjöö explained there are limits on principals' ability to affect grading decisions.

“A principal can only get involved in the grading process if there are two teachers for a class who aren't in agreement,” she told the paper.

But, Dennis Reinhold, head of school operations at the municipality, thinks the principal acted responsibly, however.

“Based on the information I have received, I believe he made the right decision. But this is a unique situation,” he told the paper.

The Local/mh (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:27 January 27, 2012 by engagebrain
'Based on the information I have received, I believe he made the right decision. But this is a unique situation," he told the paper.

the story bombs at this point - what were the unique features that justify scrapping grades the head did not like ?
10:14 January 27, 2012 by StockholmSam
Undoubtedly a friskola. All of them inflate grades to keep the stream of revenue...er...I mean students...flowing. They cannot give the impression to customers that they are too hard for the students or ineffective in their teaching.
11:51 January 27, 2012 by Puffin
@engagebrain

It can be the case that the head teacher has a right to step in

- if there is more than one teacher working on the course and they are not in agreement

- if there is some organisational issue that has meant that students did not have the chance to get higher grades - then the norm is that this is not included in the grades and they should have a chance later - such as a case in home economics like this case where a kommun refused to by the supplies and equipment needed to meet curriculum aims

- if some students have adapted schooling because of disability and cannot be tested - for example no PE teacher would fail a kid in a wheelchair for failing to make the grade by running 2km in less than 10mins

@StoockholmSam

May be a privat owned free school as there is often grade inflation - like the case a few years back where the head raised the grades of HIS OWN SON from fail (U) to distinction (MVG)

But som kommun schools have grade inflation too
12:10 January 27, 2012 by just a question
All schools in Sweden inflate the grades. Privates schools inflate them more. Teachers are told what to do all the time, and in case you don't go with the flow...the principal will show you the exit.
19:13 January 27, 2012 by scubadoc
Private schools vary in quality. There are several private schools that attract the top academic students. In these schools there is peer pressure to excel. Naturally these students exceed in their endeavors. However it is my experience that since there are so many top students it's actually more difficult to get a top grade.

On the other hand there are a LOT of weird free schools such as circus school (yup, I kid you not)) And in these schools there is a tendency to give higher grades than the students deserve. This may be a result of all the students being so bad academically that their grades need inflation or they would all fail. On the other hand they can walk a wire 10 feet op in the air!

Kommunal schools also compete for students and many if not all kommunal schools do this with grade inflation since they cannot compete by being a circus school.!
09:26 January 28, 2012 by jostein
Dont blame the principal, blame the system and the politicians. Our schoolsystem and method for handing out grades is totally idiotic. It is this idoiotic because we elected incompetent, deficient, mentally challenged, irresponsible and uneducated baffoons as our representatives. What does that make us?
11:47 January 29, 2012 by Just_Kidding
Since school grades are key for entrance to lucrative professions such as medicine, schools try to inflate the grades. To end this form of corruption, Universities should start accepting students using national tests.
14:17 January 29, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
Agree with posts 6 and 7.

One of the consequences of the lunacy of the left wing with regard to education is that there is no nationwide testing. All nations should have nationwide testing in their schools at all levels.

Some people are 'spooked' by nationwide testing, but the twinge of fear it creates is precisely what is needed to get people off their academic butts and to therefore put in a decent effort to learn essential academic material. In the odd case where a teacher is incompetent, responsible parents (alerted early in the school year by a first set of tests in October for example) could obtain published documents of curriculum material and sample tests to get their children past the occasional incompetent instructor.

The alternative to nationwide testing is a de-factor absence of educational standards for academic achievement, and by implication a feel-good free-for-all where grades mean nothing. This will dumb down the nation, which amounts to medium and long term economic suicide at a time when you can bet that China for example is not rewarding laziness and indifference on the part of their students.
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