By Submitted Story on April 23, 2020
Responding to continuing challenges caused by the COVID-19 school closure, the State Board of Education today approved measures addressing student grading for the remainder of the school year, incomplete teacher evaluations and a request for $380 million in additional emergency funding from the state.
Under a temporary grading policy approved by the board, elementary and middle school students will not receive traditional grades for the year, and high school students in grades 9-11 will have the option of choosing between a grade of pass/no credit or a numeric grade for their spring semester courses this year.
The grading policy for the current year will allow high school students in grades 9-11 and non-graduating seniors to choose which option is in their best interest under remote instruction since schools were closed March 13 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Students also will have the option of receiving a grade of pass for the semester, based on their course grade as of March 13. Students who were not passing as of that date will be able to raise their grade to a pass or a passing numeric grade. Otherwise, the course will not appear on their high school record.
Board Chairman Eric Davis said the grading policy is intended to support all the state’s students facing many differing circumstances since mid-March, when schools were closed, and students began remote learning.
“No grading policy will completely address equity issues that exist across our state during these challenging times,” Davis said, “especially when our educators cannot be physically present with their students each day and while many students struggle to access remote learning opportunities. We are making every effort to mitigate any potential negative impacts of COVID-19 on student grading while also trying to validate the efforts of students, families, teachers, and support staff during this period of remote learning.”
Elementary and middle school students will not receive traditional grades for this year.
Instead of final grades in elementary schools, teachers will provide year-end feedback for students regarding learning from the full academic school year, using a format determined locally.
In middle schools, students will receive a grade of pass or “withdraw” for the final course grades for all courses. A student’s grade will be held harmless for learning after March 13, and a grade of pass will be assigned to any student who was meeting expectations and passing the course as of March 13 or who worked to improve to the point of passing after March 13 through remote learning.
Under the policy, a “withdraw” does not equate to a failing grade, nor does it indicate that a student should be retained or that the course must be repeated. The grade WC19 simply indicates a lack of evidence of mastery of standards addressed in the particular content area.
For elementary and middle school students, teachers will document individual student strengths and needs from both an academic and social/emotional perspective to ensure an effective transition from this spring’s remote learning to the 2020-21 academic year. Middle school students taking high school level courses such as Math I or Math II will have the same grading options as high school students.
For high school students, the grading policy means they will be held harmless for their remote learning since March 13 and that they can only improve their numeric grade if they choose that option. Students will be able to choose how each final course grade will appear on their transcript at the end of the semester after consulting with their teacher and school and also in consultation with their parent or guardian. For students who choose a grade of “pass” or no credit, there will be no impact on their GPA, either for spring semester or yearlong courses.
Under a separate policy that the board adopted March 27, graduating seniors will receive for their spring semester courses a designation of pass or withdraw, if they were failing, as of their performance on March 13. For students who had a failing grade, districts and schools have been directed to provide remote learning opportunities to help them to pass.
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