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Governing Ourselves

Governing Ourselves informs members of legal and regulatory matters affecting the profession. This section provides updates on licensing and qualification requirements, notification of Council resolutions and reports from various Council committees, including reports on accreditation and discipline matters.

Investigation Committee case study

Curious case of perfect scores

The College’s Investigation Committee considers all complaints made to the College about its members and reviews all information resulting from investigations. The committee can dismiss a complaint or refer the matter, in whole or in part, to the Discipline or Fitness to Practise committees for a hearing.

The Investigation Committee may also caution or admonish the member in writing or in person, or provide written reminders or advice, or ratify a Memorandum of Agreement reached through the complaint resolution process.

By law, cases under investigation are confidential. For the education of members, the following account, based on facts from real cases, raises important questions about teacher conduct, such as what is appropriate and what is not. Details have been altered to respect confidentiality.

A few years ago, the College received a letter of notification from a school board regarding Steve, an occasional teacher who was teaching math in a high school. It was alleged that Steve fabricated students’ final marks on report cards. Concerns related to Steve’s marking included the following:

Steve’s principal had a number of concerns including the fact that Steve was giving students unusually high marks based on class participation and subjective observations. For example, he was rewarding students with high marks because they “worked really hard.’’

When the principal asked him to justify his marking, Steve could not provide any supporting evidence such as notes or records. He indicated that his notes were probably lost.

Steve denied fabricating marks. In his defence, he said he was hired to teach a demanding math class and tried to do his best in a “challenging and stressful situation.”

He stated that he allowed students to gain additional marks by participating in class and demonstrating skills and comprehension.

Steve further explained that he orally assessed student performance and incorporated it into his final grade. He also acknowledged that he should have approached grading differently and that he should have kept detailed records of his oral assessment of students.

Steve had never been previously disciplined by his employer, and no discrepancies were ever found in his other classes.

If you were a member of the Investigation Committee panel, what would you have issued to this teacher to express your concern:

The Outcome

The Investigation Committee panel reviewed Steve’s explanation in detail and acknowledged the challenging math class. However, the panel also noted that Steve issued final marks that he was not able to substantiate and therefore decided that a written caution was appropriate.