Saskatoon teachers now have the ABCs of handing out As, Bs and Cs to their students. 

The Saskatoon Public School division has issued teachers a new handbook for grading. It suggests that teachers should not hand out automatic failing grades, or offer bonus marks.

'We still have to engage the child in the process of learning.' - John McGettigan, president of the Saskatoon Teachers' Association

The handbook, distributed at the beginning of the school year, also suggests that when students submit plagiarized work, they should get a second chance.

The guidelines get an A+ from the Saskatoon Teachers' Association. John McGettigan, president of the association, said teaching is about more than just handing out grades.  

"We still have to engage the child in a relationship," McGettigan said. "We still have to engage the child in the process of learning, and if we just say, 'That's a zero,' and walk, there's no benefit."

Response from school division

Saskatoon Public Schools turned down a request from CBC News for an interview, but provided following written statement:

"There are no new processes or requirements in this book. The foundation for the handbook is the provincial curriculum and the ministry’s Academic Integrity and Student Responsibility Guidelines, which all school divisions in Saskatchewan are required to follow with regards to student assessment. These documents are posted on the ministry’s website and any questions about them should be directed to the ministry."

Response from Sask. Education Minister

Education Minister Don Morgan told CBC News that students are expected to do their school work or face consequences.

"I'm not a teacher, but I think the expectations that I would have and that are reasonable to have is that you complete the assignments in a reasonable period of time," Morgan said. "If there's a reason that they're late, whatever that reason might be, teachers are expected to look at it and apply their professionalism. We expect that teachers will have professionalism, will have competence and will be able to make a good judgment call. But, at the end of the day, the work has to get done and if the student doesn't do it then there has to be consequences for it."

Morgan added that students have to assume some responsibility if they're not completing their assignments.

"If the work is not done, then the appropriate mark may well be a zero," Morgan said.

Saskatoon Public Schools Secondary Assessment Handbook