School Closures: How Will Districts Determine Final Grades?
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – School closures across the state have many students and parents wondering how teachers will determine final grades for the 2019-20 academic year.
This is new for everyone. For starters, there is traditional letter grading and then there’s “pass” or “incomplete” grading. Here is the breakdown of how districts across the state are handling end-of-the-year grading.
In a letter to parents and teachers, the Alpine School District said: “We recognize that this is only one term of the 13-year public education career.”
Normal letter grades from an A to a C will be given. Beyond that, students will receive a Passing grade and get credit. District spokesperson Kim Bird said they are adopting the “no harm approach.”
“The No harm approach is really saying we are not going to fail anyone — kind of what our state superintendent Syd Dickson requested — no F’s should be given,” she explained.
She said any students who feel like their letter grade is detrimental to their GPA can request a Passing grade instead of a letter grade by going through the appropriate process. Although she noted students must meet the required May 22 deadline of informing their teacher about their decision.
Additionally, no new assignments will be extended from teachers beyond May 12.
“This is just a response to the uncommon and multi-faceted challenges that we are all experiencing in this pandemic,” Bird explained.
Elementary-aged students will have their last day of new instruction on May 12 and will be assessed between May 4 and May 21.
Canyons School District sent a letter to students and parents reading: “The temporary grading schedule was designed so that no student would receive a failing grade for a current class while also providing some feedback about a student’s progress. This will hopefully reduce anxiety about academic standing and progress toward graduation, address equity issues and support students as they are becoming used to a new way of learning.”
High school students in the Canyons School District will either receive an A, B, Passing or incomplete grades. Middle school students will either receive an A, B, Passing or No Grade, while elementary-aged students will not receive grades — they will receive information on each student’s progress.
“At both the middle and high school levels, students who earn 85 to 100 percent in a class would receive an A. Students who earn 70 to 84 percent would qualify to receive a B. Forty-five to 69 percent would result in a Passing grade,” read the letter.
Passing grades will receive credit towards graduation but will not go towards a student’s GPA.
A note was posted on the Davis School District website reading: “Teachers are expected to establish a grading scale which gives due consideration to students during remote learning. A typical grading scale with common failing grades (based on a 60% criterion) is not appropriate.”
Traditional letter grades (A, A-, B+, B, etc.) will be given to students by teachers with a few modifications. Students will be given the option of requesting a Passing grade to replace their letter grade (except an F). No F grades will be given. A Passing grade gives a student credit towards graduation, but incomplete grades will not.
Passing grades can be requested as a replacement grade starting on May 11. Students who wish to remedy an Incomplete grade can work to earn a letter or Passing grade by September 29.
For high school and middle school students in the Granite School District, anything below an A (A- through D-) will be considered a Pass. An F, however, will be considered an incomplete grade. Like other schools, a passing grade will not affect a student’s GPA. The district reports students with an incomplete grade will have until October 22 to improve their 4th quarter grade to a Pass. A passing grade will not affect a student’s GPA.
Elementary-aged students will either be issued a Pass or Incomplete grade for the fourth quarter.
Parents and students received a letter from the Jordan School District reading: “We sincerely appreciate how hard students, parents, families, teachers, staff, and administrators have worked to provide a quality education through these difficult times. At the same time, we recognize that the most important thing for everyone to do right now is to focus on their personal health and well-being and the health and well-being of their loved ones.”
High school and middle school students who are concerned about their grade are encouraged to reach out to their teacher and may request a Passing grade, which will each high school credit but not count toward a student’s GPA.
The district reporters all “F” or incomplete grades will be automatically converted to a “No Credit” grade on June 9. The district noted no new assignments will be given by teachers after May 22.
Elementary-aged students will still receive a report card and if there is not enough evidence that a student has met a standard it may be left blank on the report card.
Lana Hiskey with the Nebo said they are also planning on a “no-harm” approach with year-end learning. “We will continue to be flexible and work with students, especially senior students. Secondary students can earn a regular letter grade, pass, or an incomplete grade for a chance to make up assignments by December 2020,” she said.
Hiskey also reported there will be no new end-of-year assignments after May 12 for seniors and after May 15 for underclass students. “After this time, teachers will continue to provide learning, and students can complete missing assignments,” she said.
Students in the Ogden School District will either receive an A, B, or Passing grade for a C or D letter grade. Passing grades will count towards graduation credit but will not affect a student’s GPA.
The district reports students receiving an incomplete grade can work to earn a Passing grade by August 1st. The district encourages both elementary and secondary aged students to study for at least three hours each day.
In a letter written to students and parents in the Park City School District administrators wrote: “The emphasis for schoolwork assigned, reviewed, and completed during the remote learning period should be to focus students on improving their understanding and learning. Decreasing a student’s grade, without fully understanding each student’s ability to access the learning resources or having control over their circumstances is not recommended.”
The district reported teachers will continue to assign traditional letter grades to high school students while heavily relying on student performance from previous quarters. With permission from a parent, a student may request a Passing grade instead of a letter grade if they prefer it, which will give them credit towards graduation but will not affect their overall GPA. Students will receive a “No Grade” rather than an F letter grade.
Students in grades six and seven may receive a “0” indicating that a student has not been able to demonstrate competency for specific standards during distance learning. Teachers of elementary-aged students will rely heavily on a student’s performance from previous trimester reports.
“During the school dismissal, our emphasis is on continuing student learning in ways that deepen student understanding and providing opportunities for students to continue to grow as learners,” read a letter to parents and students in the Salt Lake School District. “SLCSD believes that keeping positive student connections to the school community is an important part of the health and wellbeing of all students.”
The Salt Lake School District is giving students A through C- grades, which are calculated into a student’s GPA and receive credit towards graduation. Students who receive a D or D- will receive credit, but their grade will not be calculated into their GPA. No “F” grades will be issued for the fourth quarter. Instead, they will receive a “No Grade.”
Lane Findlay with the Weber School District said, “Given the current situation, teachers have been asked to be understanding and flexible when it comes to grading.” He said teachers have been asked to consider the whole semester instead of just the 4th term when deciding on a final grade, but ultimately it’s up to each teacher to decide what is best for their class.
A letter went out to parents and students in the Washington School District reading: “We are committed to our students in providing fairness in grading guidelines throughout this unprecedented time in our history. We want to assure you that the uniqueness of this situation and the quickness of its implementation will not negatively impact student opportunities for scholarships and entrance into university. Our goal is to relieve any unnecessary worry/concern over grades – yet still maintain integrity of the work our teachers and students are engaged in.”
Either an A, B, C grade will be given to students. Beyond that students will receive a passing grade. If a student is unhappy with their letter grade they can elect to take a Passing grade but must inform their teacher no later than May 8.
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