When is a failing grade not a failing grade? In Quebec schools, apparently

If your school-aged child barely gets a passing grade this year, chances are, he or she may have actually failed the year.

Yesterday, the education minister admitted during question period that indeed, if you get a 57, 58 or 59 on a provincial exam, a piece of software automatically rounds the mark up to 60.

The PQ's education critic, Alexandre Cloutier, grilled Sebastien Proulx on the subject yesterday, and eventually forced the ministry's staff to inform Proulx that indeed, 57s, 58s, and 59s were turned into passing grades.

And reports are also suggesting borderline fails on final report cards sometimes also get changed to minimal passes — without the teacher's consent.

Westmount High teacher Rob Green told CJAD 800's Leslie Roberts that this situation may have to do with recent school reforms, which place a premium on student success.

"Every school now has to, basically has to sign this contract with the government called a Management and Educational Success Agreement, which basically commits the school to increasing success rates by a certain percentage each year," Green says.

He suggests that at some English school boards, teachers are being told straight-out not to put a 57 on a student's final report card. 

Green also says that approach is setting students up for failure at the next level, and represents no less than a dismissal of a teacher's professional opinion.

"It bothers me in the senses that it is an attack on my professional integrity," he says. "It's not the way things are supposed to work according to the Education Act...the evaluation of students is solely the teacher's responsibility, and yet that doesn't seem to be the way it's happening in practice."