What is the purpose of grades? What do grades really mean? What is the difference between and A and a B? Why do grades even matter? All of these are important questions that teachers should consider and be prepared to answer. Why?  Because the end result of a semester's worth of teaching will be summed up in one grade. And those in high school can make a huge difference while grades in the middle school years are not typically life changing. Grades not only determine whether students will receive a diploma but on the other end of the spectrum, which schools and scholarships students are eligible to attend or receive. One thing that should become clear after reading the last paragraph is that it is key for teachers to have a consistent and fair grading policy. Grades given for subjective assignments should be based on rubrics in order to make the grading as fair as possible. Although this will help you if your grades are called into question, it will also help ensure that students are given an equal chance to succeed. 

Grades and grading policies

It is a sad but true fact that many teachers will feel pressure of some sort from the school's administration when it comes to grades. Many schools are judged based on the number of failing grades that students receive. Therefore, there is often pressure to not fail students. It would be very easy as teachers to just forego F's in all but the most egregious of circumstances. However, this could be a huge mistake. For example, say you pass a struggling student through your class even though their grades never got about the 50% mark. Years later, your teaching could be called into question in case it is discovered that the student in question was never taught to read. We are licensed professionals which means that we are expected to be honest in our grades which become part of each student's permanent record as teachers. Realize that if you give out an inordinate amount of D's and F's you will be questioned by the administration – you have to keep the above in mind. It is expected as part of your job that you will work with students to help them get passing grades in your class while you might have sound reasons to give out low grades. You need to take a close look at the reasons behind this in case every student fails an exam you have given them. First of all, you should make sure there weren't errors in the exam that caused the students to fail. The best course of action is to throw out either the inaccurate questions or discard the entire test and start again in case there were. In case, on the other hand, the test seems fair and straightforward, then you have another decision to make. You should examine whether or not you gave the students all the time and help they needed to be successful on the exam.