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Decision No. 15,323

Appeal of B.M., on behalf of her nephew L.C., from action of the Board of Education of the Rush-Henrietta Central School District regarding grading.

Decision No. 15,323

(November 17, 2005)

Joyce B. Berkowitz, Esq., attorney for petitioner

DesMarteau & Beale, attorneys for respondent, George DesMarteau, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the Rush-Henrietta Central School District ("respondent") regarding her nephew's grades. The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner's nephew received a failing grade in math at respondent's high school during the 2003-2004 school year. He enrolled in the same course taught by a different teacher during the summer of 2004 and received a failing grade again.

Thereafter, petitioner performed her own calculation of her nephew's grades based upon her understanding of the course grading policies, the homework grading rubrics, the work her nephew submitted, his participation in class and the grades that he received. Alleging that her nephew earned passing grades, petitioner appealed to the principal, the superintendent and respondent, but all declined to change the grades. This appeal ensued. Petitioner's request for interim relief was denied on December 22, 2004.

Petitioner contends that the teachers misapplied their policies and miscalculated her nephew's grades. Respondent asserts that the student's grades were calculated properly and that petitioner's calculations result from a misunderstanding or misapplication of the teachers' grading policies.

It is well settled that decisions regarding student grading rest initially with the classroom teacher and ultimately with the board of education (Education Law �1709[3]). Absent a finding that a grade determination was arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable, it will not be set aside (Appeal of Schmitt, 39 Ed Dept Rep 617, Decision No. 14,329; Appeal of Conley, 34 id. 376, Decision No. 13,349).

Petitioner has failed to meet this burden. Petitioner's calculation of the student's grades fails to account for instructions given to the students regarding homework and extra credit work. In their affidavits, respondent's teachers clarify the methodology used in calculating the student's grades and assert that their grading practices were explained to the students in advance.

In addition, respondent's Executive Director for Research and Evaluation investigated petitioner's complaints and concluded that the teachers properly computed the final grades in accordance with their respective policies. Respondent and its superintendent reviewed and adopted these findings. Therefore, on the record before me, I cannot conclude that respondent's determination was arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable.