Changes to Grading

January 06, 2021

We have heard from many students that they are concerned about the impact of grades on their future, they are exhausted from online school, and they do not feel that academic expectations have been modified to fit the current learning circumstances.

Our recent review of first quarter grades found that the percentage of “A” and “B” marks was nearly identical to Quarter 1 of the previous school year. However, the percentage of students receiving at least one “F” has increased significantly. This is particularly true among our English Language Learners and students with special needs.

We believe the actions that we are taking will ensure that all students have opportunities to demonstrate their learning and earn course credits despite the challenging learning circumstances this year.  

The most significant change is to the 100-point grading scale. When using a 100-point grading scale, 50 percent of an assignment’s value will be the lowest possible score, including the score for work that is not submitted. Four-point scales are also appropriate. Most of our middle schools, and many of our high schools, have had this policy in place for some time. School level flexibility has previously been allowed in policy, but we feel our extraordinary circumstances require a division response.

Other steps being implemented to support students with workload and wellness include:

  • Dropping the minimum number of assignments per quarter from nine to six.
  • Accepting late work on major assignments with minimal penalty.
  • Capping the maximum weight of an assignment or assessment at 20%.

These policy changes will be in place the remainder of the school year. We will evaluate the impact of these policies at the end of the year and seek stakeholder engagement prior to determining our grading policies for next school year.