Academic Freedom: Course Grading

2012-10-02 23:48:08 by admin

Academic freedom

Academic freedom: External Attempts to Regulate Faculty

Academic freedom: Internal Conflicts Over Faculty Actions

Academic freedom: Course Content

Academic freedom: Faculty Language

Academic freedom: Faculty Criticism of Employers

A third category in which institutions generally prevail over faculty claims of Academic freedom includes grades, grading standards, and grading policies. Courts typically reject the argument that educators’ grading policies are constitutionally protected. Courts have decided that because officials at colleges and universities have basic authority over grading standards and policies, they can discipline faculty members who refuse to adhere to them, including educators guilty of unprofessional conduct in their grading. For example, the Seventh Circuit, in 2001, upheld the reassignment to nonteaching duties, along with loss of research funds, of an engineering faculty member who refused to comply with policies requiring instructors teaching courses with multiple sections to grade on a prescribed curve and to submit their grading materials to administrators. Another court accepted as one of the reasons for denial of tenure the fact that a faculty member assigned inappropriately high grades (249 of 257 students received A’s or B’s in a course).

A related issue is whether university officials violate Academic freedom when they order faculty members to change students’ grades. While the Sixth Circuit, in Parate v. Isibor (1989), noted that university officials infringed on a faculty member’s First Amendment rights in ordering him to change a student’s grade, it also pointed out that the faculty member lacked a constitutional right to determine the ultimate grade the student received and that superiors could administratively change the grade. However, the Third Circuit later split from Parate in asserting that a faculty member lacked a First Amendment right of expression in grade assignment where the university president ordered him to change a grade.