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What high school grading changes mean for you

What’s new in 2013-14? For one thing, all students across all grades will now be graded using a single K-12 grading policy. It includes a few changes for high school students, so let’s go through the big ones. Last year we changed the way teachers grade students in middle school. We call it “grading for learning,” which is now expanding into our high schools at the request of our high school principals.

Grading for learning helps students actually master the material they learn. Instead of just getting bad grades and moving on to the next lesson, students are given the chance to learn what they might not have understood the first time and try again.

After all, grades should reflect actual student comprehension, and the goal is mastery of each standard.

Here are the new rules for grading in high schools:

  • Overall grades are based on work products that address grade level standards. Grades should reflect student mastery of grade level content standards and a separate grade given for overall effort using the effort rubric.
  • For each grading period, grades shall be determined and recorded using multiple forms of assessments in relation to work products, including but not limited to:
    • Oral performance
    • Written performance
    • Quizzes/Tests
    • Classwork/Homework
    • Projects/Presentations
    • Summative Assessments
    • Portfolio Assessments
  • Students will have multiple opportunities to demonstrate proficiency.
  • Students will not receive zeroes; the baseline score is 50, no grade below a 50 should be given or recorded. When evidence is missing use alternatives, such as reassessing to determine real achievement, or use “I” for Incomplete or Insufficient (O’Conner, 2007) [Editor’s Note: This part of the policy applies to high schools ONLY.]
  • Do not reduce the grade on “work” submitted late; provide support for the learner.
  • Behavior will not be included in grades. See College and Career Readiness Rubric 9-12

See the full policy here.

We’re not interested in just moving students through a class if they don’t understand what’s being taught. If a student doesn’t master one of the standards, we will work with him until he does. That means not scoring zeroes on assignments. Instead, teachers will help the student understand the skill until he can demonstrate mastery.

Grades will be decided according to the content standards only, measuring academic performance and not outside factors like behavior.

Does this mean behavior, promptness and other parts of the “whole child” will not be evaluated? Absolutely not. Attributes like attendance, behavior, ethics and the like will be judged according to the College & Career Readiness Rubric seen here:

College & Career Readiness Rubric

A separate grade will be given for these.

We are excited by what this means for our high school students. By ensuring that every child is given the opportunity to truly master a standard, they will be college and career ready.

To see this policy in action inside our middle schools, watch this NewsChannel5 report from last year.