Teachers Who Bump Quarter Grades Ignore MCPS Grading Policy

In MCPS schools, raising a student’s grade at the end of a marking period is only allowed under certain circumstances and policies. According to MCPS Chief Academic Officer Maria Navarro, teachers must confirm these grade changes with a school administrator before finalizing grades. However, at RHS, teachers typically do not inform or communicate with administrators before raising a student’s grade.
One potential reason for this may be that the policies set in place can be misinterpreted. According to the MCPS Regulation JOA-RA, Student Records, “Teachers will maintain accurate and precise records that support informally and formally reported achievement.” The phrasing of this policy can leave room for misinterpretation about students’ grades.
Grade bumping is when a student has a borderline grade in a class and the teacher is willing to raise their grade to the next highest letter, in order to give the student the grade that the teacher thinks they deserve.
“It is very common at the end of the quarter for students to ask teachers to bump up their grade,” math teacher Ashley Merwin said, “I mean, it’s worth a shot, right? They can take a different approach and ask what they can do to improve their grade by making up work or retaking a quiz.”
Assistant School Administrator Monica Abuliak oversees gradebook advisors, who help teachers finalize grades for report cards, and also oversees grading and reporting issues.
Abuliak confirmed that teachers have the option to use the gradebook program, where teachers input grades, to raise grades when they want to. Teachers have the ability to raise grades with no confirmation with administrators. This is because the gradebook system allows teachers to override grades without administrators approving the action.
As far as confirming grades with administrators, Abuliak said, “Seeking approval through an administrator to bump up their grade is not a common practice here at Rockville.”
Even though the county policy is not consistently enforced, teachers want students to know that students can still get the grades they think they deserve by working hard and doing the work that is necessary.
“Simply asking for a higher grade doesn’t help. When it comes down to it, the students who work hard every day, come in for extra help, take advantage of retakes, and go the extra mile are the ones who get bumped up when their grade is on the fence. I have bumped grades up, but only for the ones who deserve it,” Merwin said.
Some students take advantage of this opportunity to have their grades raised to the next highest letter. Freshman Abdul Ahmed said that last semester, biology teacher Fariha Khan agreed to raised his grade from an 89.4 to an 89.5.
“[The students] still have to work on the things we need to, and give as much effort as we can. When we do this and we still need some help, the teachers can help us by bumping up our grades,” Ahmed said.