COVID-19 Grading Policies Update

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COVID-19 Grading Policies Update

Harlingen CISD and school districts nationwide have been faced with unique challenges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) closure. As the education process continues through distance learning, HCISD has updated its grading policy in an effort to do what is best for students while following state guidelines.

 

Revisions to grading policies for the 2019-2020 school year are outlined below as well as the implementation of those revisions.

 

The revisions to the grading policies will be implemented for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. The updates and guidance as to the implementation of the revised policies are broken down by grade level and outlined below. Please contact your child’s teacher and/or campus administration for further information.

 

 

GRADES PK-5

Progress Reports

The final nine weeks will run from March 23 – May 22 and progress reports will be issued every three weeks. Progress reports for the first 3 weeks will be issued electronically for all elementary student and will reflect the following categories:

 

  • Satisfactory: Student participated in lessons/activities and demonstrated satisfactory performance over the final 9 weeks.  
  • Unsatisfactory: Student did not participate in lessons/activities during the final 9 weeks.

 

After that, progress reports for the 6-weeks and Report Card will be reported as a numeric grade. 

 

Report Cards & 4th Quarter Grade

HCISD recognizes the innate challenges to distance learning, and the potential impacts on 4th quarter grades. For this reason, modifications to the grading scale have been temporarily incorporated into 4th quarter grading in accordance with a weighted table. For the final 4th quarter grade, report cards will reflect the following weighted numeric grade for each subject based on student performance on classwork:

 

A = 99            B= 89             C= 79             F= 69

 

For example, if a student earns a final grade of an 86 for the 4th quarter which is equivalent to a B, then it would be numerically adjusted to an 89 on the report card. The 89 would then be averaged with the 3rd quarter to arrive at a semester average. Students earning a 100 would continue to have a 100 reflected on their report card.

 

 

 

Because teachers may not have sufficient information to make determinations regarding a student’s levels of proficiency to ensure they are prepared to be academically successful moving into the next school year, students who have not submitted work or cannot engage in an equitable way will be issued an incomplete (INC) with final determination of promotion/retention and/or how to finalize the (INC) made by a grade placement committee and handled on a case-by-case basis.

 

The requirements listed in the HCISD Grading Guidelines requiring a certain number of grades to be taken each quarter have been eliminated for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.  Teachers and principals will work together to create meaningful assignments aligned to the Texas Essential Knowledge and skills (TEKS).

 

These modifications ensure that the 4th quarter grade reflects the student’s relative mastery and quality of work while taking into account the potential impacts of providing instruction in a distance learning format.

 

 

GRADES 6-8: NON-HIGH SCHOOL COURSES

(Middle school students taking courses for high school credit will follow the grading guidelines listed under the “Grades 9-12” section below for those courses.)

 

Progress Reports, Report Cards & Grades

The final nine weeks will run from March 23 – May 22 and progress reports will be issued every three weeks. Progress reports will be issued electronically for all students at the 3rd and 6th week.

 

For all students in grades 6-8, report card grades will be numeric, as usual. However, for middle school students, the 4th quarter report card grade will not be used to determine the final grade point average (GPA) calculation for Top 12 honors.  This means the 2nd semester grade point average will be based solely on the 3rd quarter grade.   

 

While grades earned during the 4th quarter will not be calculated into the grade point average for the 2020 spring semester for Top 12 honors, they will be calculated for the purpose of determining whether a student has passed the class/subject at the end of the year.  The final report card grade for all students will be used as an indicator to determine student readiness for promotion and assist in making summer school determinations.

 

4th Quarter Grade

HCISD recognizes the innate challenges to distance learning, and the potential impacts on 4th quarter grades. For this reason, modifications to the grading scale have been temporarily incorporated into 4th quarter grading in accordance with a weighted table. For the final 4th quarter grade, report cards will reflect the following weighted numeric grade for each subject based on student performance on classwork:

 

A = 99            B= 89             C= 79             F= 69

 

For example, if a student earns a final grade of an 86 for the 4th quarter which is equivalent to a B, then it would be numerically adjusted to an 89 on the report card. The 89 would then be averaged with the 3rd quarter to arrive at a semester average. Students earning a 100 would continue to have a 100 reflected on their report card.

 

 

 

 

Because teachers may not have sufficient information to make determinations regarding a student’s levels of proficiency to ensure they are prepared to be academically successful moving into the next school year, students who have not submitted work or cannot engage in an equitable way will be issued an incomplete (INC) with final determination of promotion/retention and/or how to finalize the (INC) made by a grade placement committee and handled on a case-by-case basis.

 

The requirements listed in the HCISD Grading Guidelines requiring a certain number of grades to be taken each quarter have been eliminated for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.  Teachers and principals will work together to create meaningful assignments aligned to the Texas Essential Knowledge and skills (TEKS).

 

These modifications ensure that the 4th quarter grade reflects the student’s relative mastery and quality of work while taking into account the potential impacts of providing instruction in a distance learning format.

 

 

GRADES 9-12

 

Progress Reports & Report Cards

Progress reports will be issued electronically and on a numeric scale every three weeks. 

 

Report Cards will be issued electronically at the end of the school year.  Nine week and semester grades will be numeric, as usual.

 

Exemptions from Finals

The current exemption policy will be suspended. All students in Grades 9-12 will not be required to take a final exam. The same is true for middle school students taking high school courses.

 

GPAs, Class Rank and Transcripts

Grade point average (GPA) for the 2020 Spring Semester for students graduating in the 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 school year, will be based solely on the 3rd quarter grade.  This means that 4th quarter grades for the 2019-2020 school year will not be included in the grade point average and class rank calculations for the classes of 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023. The rank shall be calculated at the end of each term/semester. Transcripts shall reflect the methodology and semester grades used to determine the GPA for the 2020 Spring semester.

 

4th Quarter Grade

While grades earned during the 4th quarter will not be calculated into the grade point average for the 2020 spring semester, they will be calculated for the purpose of awarding course credit at the end of the year and summer school decisions.  HCISD recognizes the innate challenges to distance learning, and the potential impacts on 4th quarter grades. For this reason, modifications to the grading scale have been temporarily incorporated into 4th quarter grading in accordance with a weighted table. For the final 4th quarter grade, report cards will reflect the following weighted numeric grade for each subject based on student performance on classwork:

 

A = 99            B= 89             C= 79             F= 69

 

For example, if a student earns a final grade of an 86 for the 4th quarter which is equivalent to a B, then it would be numerically adjusted to an 89 on the report card. The 89 would then be averaged with the 3rd quarter to arrive at a semester average. Students earning a 100 would continue to have a 100 reflected on their report card.

 

 

Because teachers may not have sufficient information to make determinations regarding a student’s levels of proficiency to ensure they are prepared to be academically successful moving into the next year, students who have not submitted work or cannot engage in a meaningful way will be issued an incomplete (INC) with final determination of awarding of course credit and/or how to finalize the (INC) made by a grade placement committee and handled on a case-by-case basis.

 

The requirements listed in the HCISD Grading Guidelines requiring a certain number of grades to be taken each quarter have been eliminated for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.  Teachers and principals will work together to create meaningful assignments aligned to the Texas Essential Knowledge and skills (TEKS).

 

These accommodations ensure that the 4th quarter grade reflects the student’s relative mastery and quality of work while taking into account the potential impacts of providing instruction in a distance learning format.

 

End of Courses Testing

For students graduating in future years but taking one of the five courses with a corresponding STAAR EOC assessment this year, those students will not be responsible for meeting that EOC assessment graduation requirement if they earn course credit this year. Therefore, it is critical that students provide maximum effort in ensuring successful performance on their 4th quarter grades.

 

 

GRADE 12 ONLY

 

Class Rankings

Class rankings for 2020 seniors will be calculated at the end of each term/semester, for the determination of valedictorian, salutatorian and other honors as outline in current policy. Class Rank for seniors was determined prior to the announcement of school closure and was, therefore, not impacted.


 

 

 

COVID-19 GRADING POLICY UPDATE

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

How did you arrive at these decisions?

HCISD recognizes that our families continue to struggle with reliable internet access, shared devices and work schedules. This temporary modification to grading practices and policies addresses the innate challenges of distance learning, alleviates the academic pressure on students, ensures equity amongst students when determining GPA/Class Rank and maintains our commitment to cover and deliver instruction so that each child is academically prepared for next school year.

 

Will a student still be able to average both semester grades together to gain a full year’s credit if they scored less than a 70 in SM1?

Yes. One method of regaining credit for a Semester One (SM1) failure is to average the two semesters together. Example: A student scores a 68 in SM1 and a 72 in SM2. The average of SM1 and SM2 is a 70. While the SM1 grade is not changed on the transcript, the student is awarded credit for both semesters.

 

Is it appropriate to take numeric grades during this time?

According to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), students earn credit for the semester, not just in the third quarter.  For HCISD to be able to award credit for the content of the second semester, students need to demonstrate proficiency in the remaining course content, which is the 3rd and 4th quarter put together.

 

We recognize that teachers, students and parents are most comfortable with the use of numeric grades. Grades are used as a signal for all of how students are progressing. While we do not believe it is appropriate to use 4th quarter grades for the calculation of GPA and class rank, we do recognize their use as guideposts for student performance and will continue to record grades for the 4th quarter within a modified grading system.

 

How will high school underclassmen GPA and ranking be calculated this spring/year?

Because of the challenges our students and families are currently facing, we do not want the fourth 9-weeks grades to negatively impact student’s GPA. Therefore, the Spring 2020 Semester Grade will be based solely on the third 9-weeks average and calculated with the awarding of course credit at the end of the semester.

 

How will senior semester GPA for the spring semester be calculated? What about senior class rank?

Because of the challenges our students and families are currently facing, we do not want the fourth 9-weeks grades to negatively impact student’s GPA/Class Rank. Therefore, the Spring 2020 semester grade will be based solely on the third 9-weeks average and calculated upon the awarding of course credit at the end of the semester.  Class Rank for the class of 2020, for the purpose of graduation honors as outlined in current policy, was determined prior to the announcement of school closure and was, therefore, not impacted.

 

What will final exams look like if students are not physically in school?

Final exams for the Spring 2020 semester have been suspended and no grade will be recorded.

 

 

There are some districts that are using other methods of calculating GPA/Class Rank, how will this impact our students when students from those districts transfer in?

The HCISD Board of Trustees has taken this into consideration and has approved for the district to recalculate transfer students’ grades to align to our district’s GPA/Class Rank adjusted policy for the Spring 2020 semester in order to ensure our students are not at a disadvantage.

 

If students know 4th quarter grades are not going to be included in their GPA and class rank calculations, why should they put in their best effort?

4th quarter grades will not factor into GPA and class rank calculations; however, they will be calculated for the determination of course credit.  Completion of student work during the time of school closure will be used as a component to determine the promotion and retention of students at the end of the year. Students that fail to complete assignments during this period may face retention in the same grade level and not be promoted or be required to attend summer school. Campus administration will address each situation on a case-by-case basis.

 

Inclusively, students currently in courses with an end of course assessment will be able to waive this testing requirement for graduation if they receive course credit for the class. Therefore, there are still significant implications for students to strive to put forward their best effort.

 

If a student had a failing grade for SM1, what should he/she do?

The student should immediately contact his/her campus administrator for further guidance. The administrator will work with the student to find the best path forward for gaining credit for the course.

 

Will students be administered the STAAR and EOC tests?

The STAAR Grades 3-8 test for grades 3-8 will not be given this spring or summer.

 

The high school STAAR End-of-Course (EOC) assessment graduation requirement is waived for the course(s) in which the student is currently enrolled if the student earns course credit THIS school year. It is important to note that successful completion of the course is necessary to be exempted from the EOC graduation requirement. This applies to students currently enrolled in EOC-tested courses (English 1, English II, Algebra I, Biology, and U.S. History).

 

For students who are still working to meet assessment graduation requirements as seniors in the 2019 - 2020 school year, required performance on academic assessments to graduate is being waived for spring 2020. Current seniors may graduate through the IGC process regardless of the number of EOC assessments they still need to pass. High school counselors are in contact with students who qualify for this option.

 

What will be the grading practices for student enrolled in dual enrollment courses and the Early College High School?

The GPA/Class Rank modified policy will apply for students enrolled in dual credit courses.  High School GPA and class rank will be based on the 3rd quarter grade documented in the high school report card.  However, students enrolled in dual credit courses through TSC, TSTC, and UTRGV will need to complete coursework, as directed by the professors of the dual credit course.  Grading will be at the discretion of the professor of the course.

 

 

 

 

Will we still receive 3-week and 6-week Progress Reports?

Yes. The 3-week and 6-week Progress Reports for the 4th quarter will be posted in Parent Home Access Center.  The grade posted on the progress report will not incorporate the modifications to the final 4th quarter grade.  The modifications will be applied at the conclusion of the nine weeks and will be reflected only on the report card.

 

What grades are considered an A, B, C, or F?

The following weighted table is used to define each letter grade.

 

LETTER GRADE

GRADE RANGE

REPORT CARD GRADE

A

90 – 99

99

B

80 – 89

89

C

70 – 79

79

F

<70

69

 

*Students earning a grade of 100 will have a 100 included on the report card

 

Will students be penalized for late work being turned in?
No. The District recognizes that our families are struggling in many ways right now. With that in mind, there will be no penalties for late assignments. However, all late assignments will have an allotted time assigned for make-up work. Grace, patience and understanding are most needed by all during this time.

 

How does this affect AP classes?
College Board is moving forward with plans to have the AP testing done at home. Visit www.collegeboard.org . Colleges and universities are saying they will still accept that AP credit. Colleges will still be able to see students are working hard in the college-preparatory classes and that they are ready for their next step in their journey.

 

Who can answer additional questions regarding these issues?

Please contact your child’s teacher and/or campus administration for further information.