Final Grading/Grading Scale OptionsOption DefinedProConConsiderations
Hold Harmless Grading or Opt in Independent StudyHold harmless grading is concept whereby a student participating in distance learning will maintain her/his current grade in the course at the time of the school closure. If the course is not continued in a distance learning or independent study manner, the student will be issued the grade at the time of the school closure. Additionally, if the teacher of record offers distance learning or independent study to students, student grades can be raised by participating, but cannot be lowered. This strategy protects students not able to access distance learning or independent study offerings. Lack of access can be due to a number of issues including lack of access to a digital device, internet service, or in the case of independent study, other necessary resources. In general, there does not seem to be negative impacts for this strategy.
However, if the district adds a designation to the grade report indicating that the course was not completed, how will that impact future courses, course progression, and post-secondary applications?
Districts need to consider how "current" grade will be captured and work to ensure that all student work is accurately entered into teacher grade books.
Districts will need to make a decision if the grade will be annotated as a partial semester grade if the curriculum for the course is not completed. For example, will an "asterisk" be added to the grade report or not? If students do not complete or partial complete their independent student plan what will be the final grade assigned (latest current grade, incomplete, etc.)? How will student groups including students with disabilities, homeless youth, foster youth, and English language learners be supported?
Pass / No Pass Grading - High SchoolThe Pass/No Pass grading system is an alternative to a letter grade. The system is not common in high schools and is more often used at the college level. Students who receive a "C" or higher grade typically will pass the course under this system, while those who receive a "D" or "F" will not pass. Pass / No Pass is usually not calculated into a student's grade point average. Some districts allow parents to elect for a Pass / No Pass grade for courses taken in the special education program and courses taken beyond a six period day that are not required for graduation. Students will be more motivated to work together as a group instead of existing as competitors. Proponents also argue that students experience a less stressful learning environment. Critics of Pass/No Pass grades argue that it promotes laziness by lowering expectations and do not fit into a grade point system. Opponents also believe does not provide students and parents with accurate feedback on learning. Letter grades are often used for placement in honors courses. School staff would need an alternative method for honors/advanced placement. Such general marks on a transcript might also be taken less seriously by college admission offices and employers. There are also GPA considerations that will impact students including local and university scholarships including a California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) GPA for Cal Grant consideration.How will Pass / No Pass grades impact a student's grade point average?
How will Pass / No Pass grades impact college acceptance in a competitive environment?
How will colleges make decisions on college admissions between a student how has Pass / No Pass credits on their transcript and a student who has only traditional letter grades?
How will financial aid be impacted in a competitive environment?
Pass / No Pass Grading - Elementary and Middle SchoolDefined as aboveDefined aboveLetter grades are often used at the elementary and middle school levels for placement in honors courses. School staff would need an alternative method for advance placement. (middle) how might a P/F system dictate/inform/impact placement in honors/accelerated, core and intervention/support classes where in prior times, letter grades were factored in? How would districts shape conversation with teachers about P/F in objective courses like math and science where there are definite right/wrong answers and more subjective courses like art or ELA?
Credit / No CreditCredit / No Credit memics Pass / No Pass in a number of ways with one major exception. Credit can be earned for academic performance that would traditionally earn a "D" grade.
Traditional Letter Grading - High SchoolStudents earn A - F grades
A = 100-90 - Mastery of Standards
B = 80-89 - Proficient
C = 70-79 - Basic Understanding
B = 60-69 - Below Basic Understanding
F = 0-59 - Failed Course
Students, parents, and teachers are most familiar with letter grades and are universally understandable.
Colleges and employers are use to using letter grades to assess student academic achievement.
Letter grades are directly tied to UC/CSU completion.
Letter grades are used to calculate grade point average.
Letter grades group students into bands of performance not equally distributed across a 100 point scale.
The scale is easily manipulated due to the subjectivity.
Teachers' requirements vary, so a student is performing well (demonstrating learning as standard), but not completing particular assignments, may earn a lower grade.
See UC information -
See CSU Information -
Traditional Letter Grading - Elementary and Middle SchoolSame as above.
Elementary grade reports may be a hybrid of traditional grades and rubric scores for more discrete academic skills such as reading, writing, comprehension, etc.
For middle school students, this strategy seems to be most consistent with high school letter grades so it adds a continuity factor. For elementary students it would seem that keeping the current letter/number grade has the most validity because the teacher is with his/her entire class during the day and knows them best.letter grades can sometimes include non-academic information such as behavior, attendance, participation and this can skew the actual student performance if not used in conjunction with other measures such as benchmarks and tests.Is there a feasible way to disaggregate academic and non-academic information from teachers' grade books, via SIS? To what extent are grade books congruent in what students' letter grades are based on and how might we decrease the variance? (ex. a report is worth 25% of grade in one 7th grade teacher's class and a report is worth 50% in another 7th grade teacher's class in the same dept. same school)
Issuing "Incomplete" marks at the end of a semester course.An Incomplete is most often given only when a student does not finish the course due to illness or absence. District guidelines are found in BP/AR 5121. Students are often required to complete the course within the following semester. Courses not completed within the following semester result in an "F' for the course.
This can be a costly and time intensive consideration for teachers, students, and families. It would require teachers to continue a new school year while continuing to provide support and resources to the previous school year students. Class of 2020 students planning to attend a post secondary will need their incomplete grades addressed before a final transcript is given which will require summer enrichment. Currently there are no additional funding allocated to LEA for summer enrichment/distance learning. Districts must consider if school closures qualify as a situation to issue Incomplete grade marks.
Districts also must consider how to issue a future grade is the student transfers to another school or the teacher issuing the grade is no longer at the school? I this situation, who issues the grade change or the "F" mark?
Note on partial credit - Every school must issue/accept partial credits for Foster Youth.
Use Current GradesAssign a final grades based on a student's third quarter grades or the grades when school closure took place. Levels the playing field in a sense that it makes it uniform across the board that all students receive this.Inaccurate because some students might currently have Fs or Ds with work pending such as a project or teacher uploading grades into gradebook. It also takes away that some students do not turn in homework but are reliant on performing well on tests. Will teachers accept make up work through this closing school date? Will students that have a D/F grade be given an opportunity to raise their grade? How will content for semester sequential courses including math and world language be taught to student who will move on to the next course level?
Distance Learning Teacher Professional DevelopmentDistance learning is the education of students who may not always be physically present at school. Distance learning can be completely online, or a combination of distance learning and traditional classroom instruction (called hybrid or blended). Under current school closures hybrid or blended learning models are not available. To some eductors, the current situation is viewed as an opportunity to promote and develop the technological skills of all staff. The discussion on the use of technology has moved from a preference or philosophical discussion to a necessity. How districts engage and support the instructional staff, students, and parents in the distance learning environment will be critically important. It must be acknowledge that not all staff come to the distance learning environment with the same skill set or level of enthusiasm. Much like the variance in instructional skill that currently exist in the traditional classroom, the distance learning environment will be wrought with vary skill levels for both teachers and students. How professional development is delivered and differentiated will be important. The quality of distance learning instruction will have a large impact on performance outcomes for the students. Creating deliberate professional development and measuring its effectiveness will be important.
Distance Learning Student EngagementDistance learning will teach and strengthen skills that students need in the rapidly changing fields of education and work.
With the many tools and programs that technological advancements have to offer, communication appears to increase in distance education amongst students and their teachers, as well as students and their classmates.
Barriers to effective distance learning include obstacles such as home environment distractions and no or unreliable technology.
Some students do not have the proper training with the tools needed to be successful in the distance learning environment.
In a distance learning environment, Districts need to consider the age, maturity, and level of academic development ot the student. Both the expectations for teachers and students need to be well thought out and communicated. Engaging both teachers and students to capture their "voice" in the matter is important.
Distance Learning Student Internet AccessInternet access is the ability of individuals and organizations to connect to the internet using computer terminals, computers, and other devices. Internet access includes the ability to access services such as email and the World Wide Web. Internet access has grown rapidly but is not universal. In a free public education environment, student access to the internet is essential to the success of a distance learning program. Not every student has access to both a digital device and internet service.In a free public education environment, student access to the internet is essential to the success of a distance learning program.
Distance Learning Learning EnrichmentIn a traditional sense, enrichment activities are designed to provide opportunities for character development, personal growth, and team building. In a specific classroom/course these activities are often linked directly to the skill/topic/subject being taught. Enrichment activities can promote exploring a topic in much greater detail, provide opportunity for exposing students to higher-level questioning, and employ the tenets of project based learning. Enrichment activities are designed to encourage creativity, reward risk-taking, and provide opportunities for divergent (many answers) and convergent (best answer) thinking. Enrichment activities can also be designed to explicitly teach skills students need to learn independently. Be clear as to distinguish between enrichment and acceleration. Acceleration entails "going faster" in the course curriculum and may limit access to these activities to only the top performing students. Enrichment on the other hand refers to richer more varied educational experiences. By design, enrichment activities should be accessible by all students, not matter their proficiency level at a given point in time. Districts offering enrichment learning should consider the guidelines teachers should use in developing enrichment activities. For example, should the enrichment activity be linked to an established grade level/course curriculum. Or should the teacher be free to develop non-grade-level/course activities?
Distance Learning Learning - to improve current gradeSee Hold Harmless section above.
Distance Learning - Grading of new materialSee distance learning definition above.
Districts that elect to introduce new material (i.e. learning standards not yet taught before school closures) will need to determine what and how to grade said material.
Teaching course content beyond the material taught prior to schools being closed offers students access to the full curriculum. It also provides students the opportunity to be prepared for the next course/grade level. Teaching course content beyond the material taught prior to school closures may not be taught as effectively as it would have been in a traditional classroom setting. Teachers may struggle with adjusting the rigor of the content to match the instructional environment and grade may be unduly inflated or deflated. Monitoring student cheating is also a challenge in an online environment and current assessment tools may not be designed for non-classroom assessment environments. While accurate and equitable grading practices may already be a concern for some, in a district imposed distance learning environment, teachers, schools, and districts in general may be subject to more scrutiny due to the situation. The current situation differs from the recent past in that teachers that teach in a distance learning environment most often do so on a volunteer basis. Likewise, students who take online courses volunteer as well.
Digital Device - Student AccessDo students have access to an appropriate digital device? Removes barrier to student-teacher communication, provides for variety of learning and enrichment platformsInequities in who has access and who does not can perpetuate the opportunity and achievement gaps between groups instead of decreasing them.Households with multiple school age level students may not have multiple devices and families may be challenged when attempting to educate multiple children simultaneously.
Digital Device - Teacher AccessDo teachers have access to the necessary digital device to properly instruct in a distance learning environment?Districts need to consider the possibility of teachers needing different levels of technology to instruct. Connectivity is only one aspect of the equation. Do different curriculum/subjects need different digital tools? Do some teachers need technical accomodation for visual or physical impairment?
Advanced Placement Courses and ExaminationsAdvanced Placement (AP) is a program created by the College Board which offers college-level curricula and examinations to high school students. Colleges and universities may grant placement and course credit to students who obtains high scores on the examination. High schools often offer a "bump" in grade point average for AP courses. Colleges and universities may grant placement and course credit to students who obtains high scores on the examination. High schools often offer a "bump" in grade point average for AP courses. Student lack of access to a digital device needed to participate in the examination may negatively impact some students. This negative impact may be disproportionate for some student groups. Also, the lack of direct instruction and the accountability that comes with it may impact student motivation and preparation for the examination.The College Board is working to accommodate students, schools, and districts impacted by school closures. The College Board is also developing tools to mitigate the impact of school closures on students in the Advanced Placement Program. All AP students and teachers will be able to draw on the free online resources provided to every AP classroom this fall. Additional resources will be made easily accessible to AP students and teachers through mobile phones and other devices. These include free online AP lessons and review sessions from some of the top AP teachers in the country.The AP Program is finalizing streamlined AP Exam options that would allow students to test at home, depending on the situation in May.
Dual Enrollment Courses Dual enrollment programs enables students to take college courses while enrolled in high school. The course can be taught on the high school campus either during the school day or before/after school. Concurrent enrollment most often describes a course taken by a high school student on the physically located on the college campus or online. Provides students college courses and a head start on college experience and college credit. There are also cost savings for students (and families). Dual enrollment courses are also a way for high school students to distinguish themselves as they apply for college admission and scholarship. LEA must partner and work under the community college rules and regulations in a dual enrollment environment. Districts and the sponsoring community college(s) should collaborate on how best to work in a distance learning environment when it comes to high school students enrolled in dual enrollment courses. Grading, curriculum, and learning expectations need to be considered.
Current Seniors with "F" gradesDistricts are determining the number of 12th-grade students with failing grades in second semester courses and how best to respond. Are the courses required for graduation or college and career readiness? Can non-essential courses be dropped from student schedules? What Board Policies need to be considered or waived based on the LEAs local control authority? What instructional, intervention, and grading strategies can be used to allow students to earn credit, pass, or a letter grade in the course?