You know how they say you can’t fight City Hall? It looks like you can’t fight your teacher either, at least when it comes to getting a grade you don’t like.

Only two San Diego Unified students tried to appeal the grades they got to the school board between November 2009 and October 2010. Neither of them won their cases.

A report prepared for the school board says it is impossible to tell whether that is more or less than in the past, since parent complaints haven’t been tracked by subject. There are no details about why the students wanted to contest their grades. But the numbers do show it is extraordinarily rare.

As I wrote last week, grading can differ dramatically from class to class, one reason that a student might think a grade is unfair. An A is not an A is not an A:

From school to school and teacher to teacher, the bar is set all over the place … One federal study found that B students in poor schools and D students in affluent ones got similar scores on a national exam.

Nobody even agrees about how to weigh work to come up with a final mark. Grading researcher Douglas Reeves complains that you can show the same quizzes, homework and tests to a thousand teachers — and get a thousand different grades.

Have you had a frustrating experience with grading — or a great one? Are you one of the two kids who fought the system? I’m interested in delving more into grading and would love to hear from you.

Please contact Emily Alpert directly at or 619.550.5665 and follow her on Twitter:

Emily Alpert was formerly the education reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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