Teaching Profession

Chicago High School Teachers Report Pressure to Change Student Grades

By Catherine Gewertz — September 01, 2009 1 min read

Are students earning grades, or are teachers giving them?

Good question. And you won’t like the answer a new Chicago survey has to offer.

According to the study, 30 percent of Chicago’s public high school teachers felt pressured to raise students’ grades during the past year, and 20 percent actually did so.

The survey of 1,200 teachers at all levels, a joint project of the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Teachers Union, found that high school teachers reported feeling the pressure to raise students’ grades twice as often as teachers at lower levels.

The teachers in the survey reported that they’ve been urged to boost students’ grades for a wide variety of reasons, from ensuring an athlete’s eligibility to keeping up a school’s graduation count. They feel pressure from parents, fellow teachers, administrators and a more diffuse school or district “culture.”

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A version of this news article first appeared in the High School Connections blog.