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For some Toronto students, 35 per cent is the new zero

A new Toronto District School Board policy says teachers are no longer allowed to record any mark below 35 per cent on students' mid-term reports.

Policy sets minimum mark for mid-term report cards, teacher worries it could 'mask' true progress

For students in Toronto's Catholic District School Board, 35 per cent is the new zero. That's because a new policy stipulates that teachers are not allowed to record any mark below 35 per cent on students' mid-term reports.

The move has some teachers angry, saying they weren't properly consulted about the policy.

Dave Szollosy, president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association's Toronto secondary unit, said the policy could give a false impression about how students are doing.

"By not honestly reporting significant needs and problems with the students' progress, you're masking problems and not being honest in identifying student needs so they can be properly addressed," he said. "If you mask problems, how does that help to identify them?

Szollosy also said "it's dishonest to require teachers to record false data on an official ministry document."

The 35 per cent floor means a student could miss most of their classes, fail multiple exams and still achieve a mark of 35 per cent.

The policy only applies to report cards, not marks, other work or exams.

An education ministry spokesman said all school districts are required to set the lower limit of the range for marks below 50 per cent. 

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