Can they fire me for not signing?

I recently finished an ESL course for a group of young students. My school had me create, deliver and grade an exam. Then they change all my ‘scores’ to letter grades which were grossly inflated and did not even reflect the range of marks in my class. OK, whatever. I think they can give the students whatever grade they want. However, they want me to sign the report cards. I don’t agree with the grades nor do I understand how they were derived. The school has threatened to fire me (with loss of bonus) for not signing.

Has anybody else experienced this kind of grade distortion? Is it normal and acceptable in Taiwan? Even if it is, do you think they can legally fire me for being uncooperative (because I don’t want to sign)? If anybody has been in a similar situation or has any advice about this situation I would sure appreciate it.

Of course, for me, this is also a personal issue. They can pay me to teach whatever nonsense they see fit, but do they have a right to coerce me into lying for the company?

Sign it and forget it.

Juba’s right. It’s not a hill to die on. I admire your priniciples, but unless you want to use this as an excuse to quit/get fired, let it go. They won’t understand your position and think you are just being difficult.

Sign it. It’s a Taiwanese Test. It has no basis in reality.

But put a signature on it that is different from your own.

Sorry to go against the stream, but F@ck them. My name certainly isn’t mud. If you really believe in your teaching and principles, talk to your boss about the situyation. At the end of the day, the parent doesn’t know what your signature looks like anyway, so be weary of the potential to be forged anyway. Personally, I’d care about something like this and couldn’t work with somebody that’d do it to me. Hey, the new school year is here, find somebody with some morals.

On the other hand…

If they’re at the point of threatening you already then you’re probably marked as a trouble-maker and may be manipulated out anyway. Rock the boat once and it might not matter what you do to make amends.

If you’re feeling pissy about this then write a formal letter stating that you have graded the students and will sign off on the grades you have assessed. Go on to say that if someone else has assessed the students differently then they can jolly well sign the report cards.

You may not get fired. You may just find that life slowly becomes unbearable, for a million small reasons, until they find someone to replace you.

I went through all this, and eventually got a talking to for writing too many bland identical student reports. You can’t win whatever you do, so why torture yourself?

I go with the majority on this one.

O’ course you could always give the students back their test papers so that they can see how many mistakes they really made.


When I studied chinese, my teacher told us that he faced the same problem. He is an honest and good teacher, and didn’t want to sign.
He was not fired, but the school didn’t give him more work after my class finished the trimester.

The school were I was is “TamJiang” university, near “ShiDa” university, in Taipei. The person that asked him to sign was the director of this part of the school.


The whole system of education here is based on grades. It’s the Alpha and Omega – it’s what parents want, and it’s what they gonna get. I mean, where else do 4-year olds in a kindergarten take tests? Where else would 4-year olds memorize a short story (in a foreign language) only to ramble it off, incoherently in a monotone, and receive a grade and a standing applause from teachers and parents? For crying out loud! Grades are what determine the college or university you go to, or don’t go to. Distorted grades? Sure, I’ve seen it in every school I have worked for here in Taiwan. Grades a reflection of performance? Nah, more window dressing I would say.

I mean students go to cram school to learn how to pass the TOEIC test. Government officials are required to pass the GEPT for promotional purposes. So what does the government do? They have classes teaching employees how to pass the GEPT! They get good grades, yeah. Can they speak English? Nah!

Will you and I change the system? Nah! Should we try? Nah!

It’s a free market economy. A business. Nothing to do with teaching. If the boss wants you to butter your arse and slide down a hill then you’ll have to do it or get fired.

if you do sign it, just make sure you don’t go complaining about the dishonest this and that in the buxiban business later.

Many schools here are selling students a qualification, not an education.

I had the same problem at a Joy school I worked at. A kid who couldn’t even speak Chinese (learning disorder) and whom I gave 25 percent on his oral test, somehow managed to get 90 percent on his retake (not me doing it) and 95 percent on his telephone test! :loco:

I refused to do the oral tests again, wanting no part of it, and the school accepted it. The kid in question was under an amazing Chinese teacher, and she was able, incredibly, to help him improve his English. But, because his grades were set in the 90 to 95 percent mark always, he never got to see the fruits of his hard work (his English improved considerably under this great, patient teacher, to something like a 40 percent in an oral test - a huge improvement in reality).

The same school had an end-of-term written exam. The pass mark was 86 percent. There were fourteen questions, all requiring a full, written answer. For every question the student got wrong, he or she was deducted … 1 percent! Get the whole lot completely wrong, and you get … 86 percent! :bravo:

Genius. Sheer genius. :unamused:

I hope the OP didn’t sign. I agree with Amos that one should ocassionally stand up for ones integrity and I doubt he would’ve been fired for not signing.

But grade inflation is not strictly a Taiwan issue. It’s standard practice in the US. Supposedly a “C” means average, “B” means good and “A” means excellent, right? How often do you think teachers in the US, Canada or Europe hand out grades that resemble a standard bell curve, with mostly Cs, then an equal number of Ds and Bs, then a small number of As and Fs. Pretty rare.

I taught a basic writing class for a couple of years in a US university and while I didn’t strive for a perfect bell curve in my grading, I didn’t want to hand out all As and Bs, and I know some of my students were pissed off with my tough grades. Probably the worst writer in my classes was a black girl who was nice enough and seemed to try hard, but was barely literate. I recall one paper she wrote about how poverty can be overcome which she titled, “Proverty can be help.” I had students read aloud in class their best paper, she read that paper and none of the students understood what she was saying. Students had to earn a C in my class to complete all college writing class requirements. I couldn’t in fair conscience allow this girl to graduate without further writing instruction, so I gave her a D, despite her efforts. She hated me, but she did sign up for another writing class (with someone else) the next year. She earned a C in that class and completed her writing requirements, though she could barely write at all.

That girl should not have even graduated from high school. Teachers should have recognized many years earlier that she was barely literate and should’ve worked with her to improve. Instead, I’m sure all the teachers before realized what a pain in the ass it is to try to help someone to write better, they didn’t want to make the effort and they didn’t want to discourage her by flunking her or giving her extra requirements, so they passed her through the system, probably with As and Bs. :s

Oh well, one doesn’t want to discourage students with really bad grades, but inflated grades are equally bad. It’s tough being a teacher and doing the right thing.

I read somewhere online that grade inflation is rife in the U.S. largely because teacher were afraid of being sued for ‘undergrading’. Is that true.

MT, I never actually thought about the bell curve you mentioned above - of course, C should be the average. If Taiwanese schools are to be believed, that all Taiwanese students get As, then, in fact, they are all average students, and therefore C grades. :slight_smile:

I never thought about that before. :s

I don’t believe many give inflated grades for fear of being sued, though I’m sure such lawsuits have been filed in the litigious US. I think it’s more just acceptance of mediocrity in today’s society, a dumbing down of standards, and (this Fred Smith will enjoy) the notion that everyone is “special” and therefore all students are excellent in one way or another.

It’s also laziness. Teaching writing, especially, is really difficult. How can one help a lousy writer to improve? It’s not enough to just mark up the paper in red ink and say that paper sucks. If one is a good teacher one will provide comments and assistance that will help the student to understand the various reasons why the paper sucks and how s/he can do better. That’s really hard to do, especially for several classes of students. And if one gives a student a C or D, one has a special duty to provide such assistance. On the other hand, if you tell all the students, “good job, B+” then you don’t really have any explaining to do. Everyone is happy and you can all forget about the stupid paper.

disagree, In Canada my Univ and high skule followed the standard bell curve distribution of grades. Getting an A was quite an achievement usually reserved for the brilliant asian in da class. I hear its da same in Europe…

BUT my mom taught in college, and she had to inflate da grades otherwise dept would ask her why she fail so many students LOLz. She pick the funniest ways to pass em, by making “adding mistakes” on their tests when she added up all their rite answers, but magically perofrm a mistake and they would get 10 extra marks, soo blatant, but its college…u dont expect brainiacs going there.

Emm… that was a joke post, right?

That has to have just been a joke post. :s