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Decision No. 13,309

Appeal of LOUIS SCHURE, on behalf of his son, JOSHUA, from action of the Board of Education of the East Williston Union Free School District, regarding student grading.

Decision No. 13,309

(December 15, 1994)

Jaspan, Ginsberg, Schlesinger, Silverman & Hoffman, Esqs., attorneys for respondent, John

O. Fronce, Esq., of counsel

SOBOL, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals respondent's decision with regard to his son's fourth quarter and final grades in tenth grade English. The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner's son, Joshua, was a tenth grade student at respondent's high school during the 1993-94 school year and enrolled in tenth grade English. Joshua was awarded an F as his grade for the fourth quarter and a C+ for his final grade in the course. The final grade was computed by the equal averaging of Joshua's quarterly and final exam grades.

Respondent maintains that Joshua was given a failing grade for the fourth quarter because of his failure to turn in several required papers as well as his failure to take several required quizzes. Petitioner maintains that all required papers were handed in with the exception of the final paper which was refused for lateness. Additionally, petitioner maintains that although some quizzes may have been missed, respondent violated its own policy which allowed students to make up quizzes missed as the result of a justifiable absence.

Following the issuance of the fourth quarter English grade, petitioner engaged in extensive conversation and correspondence with respondent. In the course of these discussions, respondent afforded Joshua the opportunity to resubmit his final paper in an attempt to resolve the conflict. However, petitioner declined to resubmit this final paper. Additionally, petitioner did not submit any evidence of work performed during the final quarter of his son's tenth grade English class to support the claim that his son failed to receive credit for work he actually completed.

Grading policies and practices are matters in which local school authorities have considerable discretion (Education Law '1709(3); Matter of Ravnitzky, 18 Ed Dept Rep 83). The Commissioner of Education will ordinarily not substitute his judgment for that of the board of education with respect to the determination of a student's grade without a clear showing that the board's determination was arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable (Appeal of Kelly, 28 Ed Dept Rep 553). Upon this record, I find no basis to conclude that respondent's determination with respect to Joshua's grades was either arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable. The fourth quarter grade awarded to Joshua was the result of his failure to take several quizzes and submit several papers. Petitioner has provided no evidence to support his contention that the papers were actually completed. Furthermore, petitioner failed to submit any evidence of some justifiable excuse for Joshua's lack of attendance at required quizzes, or that any graded quiz papers have been improperly omitted from the teacher's grade book. Joshua's final grade was based upon respondent's grading policy, which consisted of the four quarterly grades and the final exam grade divided by five. That process was adhered to in Joshua's case. As a result, I do not find that respondent's actions were arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable.

I have considered petitioner's remaining contentions and find them without merit.