Reflecting on personal and professional ethics in the Humanities

In this task we were required to repsond a scenario in which a student was not able to complete their assessment task. The scenario is as follows:

Scenario: Students in your year 10 class are required to complete an assignment that involves group work. There are four students in each group. One student is absent from school due to a parent’s illness and their remote location means they can’t get to school. The rest of the group report that they sent texts to student with suggestions about how they could contribute despite not attending class. The due date has arrived and the absent student did not submit any work for one component of the task, which means a lack of evidence to assess the group’s skills and knowledge associated with one criterion. This is the last assessment piece of the year, and the difference between a ‘C’ and a ‘D’ grade in that criterion for the absent student and two other students in the group.

Below are the questions that were responded too:

The questions

What would you do in the situation described?

The beginning steps to this situation would be to first contact the parents of the student, if they are available as the condition of the parent is unknown. If contact is made with the parents a discussion surrounding the student’s assessment and what work, if any, the student was able to complete. Further explanations regarding the group work would be warranted.

In the situation where the student has conducted substantial work in which a mark could not be given, two different solutions could be utilized. One, the student and their group are given an extension that will allow the absent student to complete their portion of the task. In this instance, the students whom have completed their work would not be allowed extra time to polish their parts due to unfairness towards other groups. It would need to be organized with the student, parents and the Head of Department to come to an agreed time frame.

The second option would be allowing the students whom have been attending school to complete the task as a group of three and permitting a handicap for the extra work the fourth student would have contributed. The fourth student would then be given the chance to complete a supplementary assessment that assess the same criteria as the original assignment.
How would you know it’s the right thing to do?

Revieiwng the equity statement from the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) (Equity statement, 2011) two major points are taking that link to this scenario. The first is that of; identifying and minimising structural barriers to access and participation. Secondly; acknowledging the diversity of students and their life circumstances, and the need for particular strategies which can enhance engagement and equitable outcomes among all students. In these two points our student resides with their geological location and family situation.

Moving from keeping in line with the equity policies, the Code of Ethics for Queensland Teachers from the Queensland College of Teachers (Code of Ethics for Teachers in Queensland, 2008) describes how teachers must demonstrate integrity, dignity, responsibility, respect, justice and care. In this case, being respectful in acknowledging the students family situation, be just in the fact of being reasonable and fair and being supportive of the student and family’s wellbeing and show care in regards to having empathy and rapport for students and their families.

It is in this regard that when addressing the student and the family that minimal pressure be put on the parents and student as to not further stress and complicate the situation at home.

What is the connection between ethics and the role of a Humanities teacher?

All teachers, no matter what faculty must adhere to all policies regarding the health and wellbeing of students. All policies that require teachers to adhere to certain standards regarding ethical treatment of students and adjusting to those students needs must be adhered to per the Teachers’ code of professional practice (Teachers’ code of professional practice, 2006).




Code of Ethics for Teachers in Queensland. (2008) (1st ed.). Brisbane. Retrieved from

Equity statement. (2011) (1st ed.). Retrieved from

Teachers’ code of professional practice. (2006) (1st ed.). Canberra. Retrieved from


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