In the March 2009 issue of California Educator we reported that a Superior Court judge ruled earlier this year that administrators violated the law by changing the final grades of 89 students attending Central Valley High School in Ceres ("Court backs teachers' right to determine final grades," page 35). The grade changes were made months after teachers had submitted the grades and without the teachers' consent, based on students' standardized test scores. The judge ruled at that time that the Education Code plainly states that teachers have the right to determine a student's final grade.
In March, the district filed a motion to set aside the judgment and request a new hearing where witnesses could appear and testify. On May 7, a Superior Court judge denied this motion, and ruled that the original decision would stand unaltered. The district was ordered to return the grades to what they were as filed by the teachers before the results of the CSTs were final; to abandon the board policy that requires teachers to submit to the "grade factor" scheme; and to refrain from developing such a policy in the future.
Administrators at Central Valley High School recently changed the grades back.
"Perhaps this case will cause other districts to think twice before they attempt to interfere with the teacher's ability to give a true assessment of his/her students' progress," said Ceres Unified Teachers Association (CUTA) member Susan Engstrom, who fought the grade change with fellow CUTA member Marilyn Wood. "This could have set a dangerous precedent, and nipping it in the bud was the right thing to do."