Pursuant to a TCTA-initiated law, an examination or course grade issued by a teacher is final and may not be changed unless it is erroneous, arbitrary or inconsistent with a school board-approved district grading policy. A school board’s determination with regard to a grade is final and may not be appealed unless the appeal relates to a student’s eligibility to participate in extracurricular activities. Grades must be based on a student’s relative mastery of the subject, and teachers may not be required to award a minimum grade for an assignment without regard for the quality of the student’s work. However, a district’s grading policy may allow a student a reasonable opportunity to make up or redo an assignment or examination for which the student received a failing grade.
Some districts refused to change policies that require the assignment of a minimum grade on progress reports and report cards. At TCTA’s request, the then-commissioner of education clarified that the law applies to grade averages as well as individual grades. Several districts filed suit against the commissioner requesting that he be enjoined from enforcing the law in accordance with his interpretation and asking the courts to declare that the law does not apply to grade averages. The district judge ruled that the commissioner’s letter was a correct interpretation of the law.
Another law provides that “Students may express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions. Homework and classroom assignments must be judged by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance and against other legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school districts. Students may not be penalized or rewarded on account of the religious content of their work.”