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9.30.P.1 Grading / Assessment Systems
PROCEDURE PROCEDURE

Reference:
Section 9.30 - Policy

 

Overview
Student academic grades will communicate academic achievement based on clearly-defined academic performance standards. Course/grade-level standards will provide the basis for determining grades for each course and grade level. Grades will be determined by comparing student work to grade-level standards. Academic achievement will be separated from other non-academic behaviors when teachers assign student grades. 

Quality assessments and properly recorded evidence of achievement will be used when determining grades on student work. Teachers will use formative and summative assessments that meet rigorous design criteria (e.g., clear targets, appropriate match of target and method, appropriate sampling, and lack of bias and distortion). Teachers will use rubrics, assessment checklists, and other types of scoring guides to communicate expectations and to provide feedback on various types of student work (e.g., products, projects, and other performances).

The following specific requirements are established:
  • Parents can access grades and information related to student achievement via the parent portal, which will be updated by teachers on a weekly basis, and parents will be informed at least four (4) times a year as to the progress their children are making in school.
  • Parents will be alerted and conferred with as soon as possible when a student's performance or attitude becomes unsatisfactory or shows marked or sudden deterioration.
  • Insofar as possible, distinctions will be made between a student's attitude and academic performance.
  • At comparable levels, the school will strive for consistency in grading and reporting except as this is inappropriate for certain classes or certain students.
  • When grades are given, school staff members will take particular care to explain to parents the meaning of marks and symbols as they apply to student achievement.
  • When no grades are given but evaluation is made informally in terms of the student's own progress, such evaluation will be a realistic appraisal of the skills developed by the student.
  • Reports of progress for students qualified for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) shall be based on their progress in the general curriculum and shall address whether the progress is sufficient to enable the student to achieve the goals stated in the student's individualized education program (IEP) by the end of the school year.
 

Grading Guidelines K-6
The purpose of the Grading Guidelines is to provide a shared understanding of grading practices.  They also provide a framework for teachers to measure and report student mastery of essential concepts, while providing alignment of student grades with student achievement.  Grading guidelines also provide a consistent practice across teachers, grade levels, and schools.

Below is a list of the current grading guidelines for Kindergarten through 6th grade:
  • Measurement of individual achievement of learning goals – 60%
    • Multiple measures of learning provided for students to demonstrate achievement on skills and concepts taught
    • Examples include tests, quizzes, writing assignments, projects, labs, or any rubric based assignments
  • Measurement of learning processes – 30%
    • Teacher and peer supported learning activities that take place during class time
    • Examples include shared reading, actors theater, group discussions, group projects
  • Measurement of learning practice – 10%
    • Examples include homework


Multiple Opportunities to Show Proficiency
Students will have at least one additional opportunity available to show proficiency on given standards on summative assessments. Multiple opportunities are needed so the teacher has clear evidence to determine if the student is proficient in the standard(s). How multiple pieces of evidence are collected is at the discretion of the site grade level team, and should be clearly stated on the website and/ or syllabus. Teachers in like courses and/ or grade levels may choose a different method to collect evidence of proficiency than was used for the first attempt. Additional evidence of proficiency may come from subsequent exams and override the original grade.
  • For example, if a student does not show proficiency in Standard RL1 on Unit Test 1 and the teacher knows this will be reassessed on Unit Test 2, the grade for Unit 2 proficiency would be more recent and override the first grade.  

Prior to collecting additional evidence of proficiency, a minimum of one of the following must occur:  reteaching, intervention via small group, video instruction and/ or practice at home, tutoring, etc. 

Elimination of Non-Research Based Practices
The following will not be factored into grades:  Extra Credit, Curving and/ or Group Grades. In addition, grades will not reflect behaviors, instead this will be annotated in the notes field.

Late Work
Teachers in like courses and/ or grade levels, with administrative approval, will define this practice and clearly state it on the school’s website and/ or student syllabus.  The guidelines must be consistent across the course and/or grade level at the site. Points will not be deducted for late work, instead it will be annotated in the notes field in the grade book and noted on the Report Card when needed.  However, after the timeframe specified in the syllabus, late work will not be accepted and the grade will be permanently recorded as a 0.

Standards Based Grading
Standards Based Grading is being piloted at four sites in the 2019-2020 school year.  The school will communicate information about this to parents, guardians and/ or family members.

Report Cards/Progress Reports
Official report cards/progress reports are posted eight times a year (four per semester). 

The District grading scale on report cards reads:
A - 90%
B - 80%
C - 70%
D - 60%
F - below 60%
 

Grading Guidelines Grades 7-12
The Grading Guidelines provide a framework for teachers to measure and report student mastery of essential concepts.  Best practices include measuring student learning in multiple and varied ways in order to calculate a valid students' grades.  It is critical that student academic attainment be measured, not by the amount of time a student spends on learning, but by the level of attainment in terms of the skills and knowledge that student has mastered.

Assessment:  
Assessments in Dysart count for either 60% or 80% of the total class grade in a course.  Assessments may include: multiple choice tests, benchmark assessments, quizzes, writing assignments, projects, labs or any rubric based assignment.

In classes that rely more on tests and quizzes, which are not project based, there will not be a project category and assessments will count for 80%. In classes that include more projects, assessments will account for 60% and projects for 20% of the total course grade.

Classwork/Homework:  
Classwork and homework are the students' independent practice of skills and concepts learned in the classroom.  Classwork/ homework will count for 10% of a course grade.  

Final Exams:  
Finals will count for 10% of a student's grade. Finals measure a student's mastery of all essential content for the semester.  Finals may not be retaken. Finals are provided for students in December and May.

Multiple Opportunities to Show Proficiency
Students will have at least one additional opportunity available to show proficiency on given standards on summative assessments. Multiple opportunities are needed so the teacher has clear evidence to determine if the student is proficient in the standard(s). How multiple pieces of evidence are collected is at the discretion of the site grade level team, and should be clearly stated on the website and/ or syllabus. Teachers in like courses and/ or grade levels may choose a different method to collect evidence of proficiency than was used for the first attempt. Additional evidence of proficiency may come from subsequent exams and override the original grade.
  • For example, if a student does not show proficiency in Standard RL1 on Unit Test 1 and the teacher knows this will be reassessed on Unit Test 2, the grade for Unit 2 proficiency would be more recent and override the first grade.  

Prior to collecting additional evidence of proficiency, a minimum of one of the following must occur:  reteaching, intervention via small group, video instruction and/ or practice at home, tutoring, etc.

Elimination of Non-Research Based Practices
The following will not be factored into grades:  Extra Credit, Curving and/ or Group Grades. In addition, grades will not reflect behaviors, instead this will be annotated in the notes field.

Late Work
Teachers in like courses and/ or grade levels, with administrative approval, will define this practice and clearly state it on the school’s website and/ or student syllabus.  The guidelines must be consistent across the course and/or grade level at the site. Points will not be deducted for late work, instead it will be annotated in the notes field in the grade book and noted on the Report Card when needed.  However, after the timeframe specified in the syllabus, late work will not be accepted and the grade will be permanently recorded as a 0.

Standards Based Grading
Standards Based Grading is being piloted at four sites in the 2019-2020 school year. The school will communicate information about this to parents, guardians and/ or family members.

Grade Change Due to Demonstration of Competency/ HIGH SCHOOL ONLY
AP, IB AND CAMBRIDGE CLASSES:  If a student participates in the AP, IB or Cambridge exam, the student is not required to take the course final. If the score on the AP exam is a 3, the student's grade increases by one letter grade. If a student scores a 4 or 5 on the AP exam, the student will automatically earn an A in the AP course.

If the score on the IB exam is a 4, the student's grade increases by one letter grade. If a student scores a 5, 6 or 7 on the IB exam, the student will automatically earn an A in the IB course. 

If a student’s score on the Cambridge exam is a C or B, the student’s final grade gets moved up one grade level (except for the FLE English Course). If a student’s score is an A or A” the student will automatically earn an A for the final course grade. No final course grade changes are made for any exam grade below a C. For the Cambridge FLE English Course, only an A or B will qualify.

If a student is proficient on the AzM2 or AIMS exam the student’s final grade increases by one letter grade. If a student is Highly Proficient (AzM2) or Exceeds (AIMS), the student will automatically earn an A in the corresponding course.

If a student meets the specified cut score on the ACT the student’s final grade increases by one letter grade.  

Report Cards/Progress Reports
Official report cards/progress reports are posted eight times a year (four per semester). Only the final grades on the first and second semester report cards are recorded on the official transcript.

The District grading scale on report cards reads:
A - 90%
B - 80%
C - 70%
D - 60%
F - below 60%

Appealing a Grade
Faculty members are vested with the authority to establish course requirements and standards of performance aligned to District grading guidelines. It is the responsibility of faculty to articulate and communicate course requirements and standards of performance to students at the beginning of each course and apply all grading criteria uniformly and in a timely manner. Final grades submitted by faculty are presumed to be accurate and final. A student, who has questions about a grade received in a course, should seek to resolve the issue by first consulting with the instructor.

Grounds for a Grade Appeal
Students can appeal a grade only when they can document that one or a combination of the following has occurred:
  • An error in calculating the grade
  • Failure to follow grading policy
  • Assignment of a grade based on reasons other than the announced criteria and standards
  • Assignment of a grade based on factors other than student achievement, e.g., personal bias
  • Inconsistent or inequitably applied standards for evaluation of student academic performance
  • If the student believes that the grade received is based upon unlawful discrimination, or sexual harassment, as defined in District policies and procedures, the student should proceed with the process under these policies

The Appeal Process
When students believe that they have grounds for appealing a grade issued by an instructor because of an occurrence of one or more of the above mentioned circumstances, the following procedures must be followed:

The student/parent/guardian must submit a written request to the principal requesting the grade be reviewed and include the documentation to support the grounds cited for the request.  The student/parent/guardian must attach substantiating documentation that demonstrates the occurrence of one or more of the above-listed grounds for appeal. The student must also attach documentary evidence of the level of achievement in support of the particular grade that the student believes he/she should have been awarded.  This must occur within fifteen (15) days of the submission of the grade for the course.  Then, the principal will forward this request to the instructor.  The instructor will provide a written response, including any appropriate documentation, within fifteen (15) days. The decision of the grade appeal is final.  K-8 students can appeal a quarter or semester grade.  High school students can only appeal a semester grade.

However, if the student believes that the grade received is based upon unlawful discrimination, or sexual harassment, as defined in District policies and procedures, the student should proceed with the process under these policies.