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Back to Index | Relevant Policy - 9.30 Grading / Assessment Systems
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

Re-Take Policy
The time needed for student learning and the amount of intervention required for student mastery of content varies from student to student.  Students need to devote the extra time and take advantage of the additional support they require until they experience success.  This extra practice may occur in many different ways and take place in various settings.  For example, a student may attend tutoring offered before or after school or a student may receive support from a parent, sibling or friend who has the content knowledge to support the learning of the student.  A learning website that offers the student additional practice is also acceptable. If the student provides the classroom teacher with documentation of this support along with completion of and has completed 80% or more classwork/homework, then that student is eligible to re-test.  

Guidelines for re-testing are as follows:
  • Re-test no later than four weeks from the original assessment or no later than the end of the quarter
  • Grades reflected in the grade book are the best of all attempts
  • Documentation of additional practice  of  tutoring or support
  • Completed 80% or more classwork/homework

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 purpose of the Grading Guidelines is to 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 student grade.  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.  The student then has the ability to apply that knowledge and use it to problem solve, create and continue to learn and grow.

Assessment 
Assessments account for 80% of a student’s grade. Assessments are assignments and measures provided for students to demonstrate their achievement on skills and concepts that have been taught.  Assessments include multiple types of assignments that measure learning over the course of the grading period.  Multiple measures may include:  multiple choice tests, benchmark assessments, quizzes, writing assignments, progress monitoring, projects, labs or any rubric based assignments. Best teaching practices include continual multiple measures of learning.

At times, if a course includes project based learning assessments, those projects may account for up to 20% of the assessment component of the total course grade.  An example of a project based assessment: An analysis of geometric shapes in art or a research paper on the history of calculators. Projects give students the opportunity to practice skills that are complex and integrated.  Projects may require several days or weeks of student work.  Several grades may be assigned to one project required to reflect the essential components of that project.  The combination of those essential project component grades will result or be combined into one final project grade that can be up to 20% of the assessment component of a course grade. Students may re-take component portions of a project.  As the teacher monitors students’ progress on project objectives for their grade, they may note lack of student progress insufficiencies in the work and direct students to re-take assignment components connected with that project. At times, projects are a part of the assessment category and may account for as much as 20% of a course grade.  

All of these assignments (including projects) account for 80% of a student’s grade.

Final Exams
Final exams should not account for more than 10% of a student’s grade. Final exams measure a student’s mastery of all essential content for the semester.  Final exams may not be re-taken.  Final  exams are provided for students in December and May.  The December benchmark 2 test may be used as the final exam and may not be retaken.

Projects
Projects give students opportunity to practice skills that are complex and integrated.  Projects may require several days or weeks of student work.  Several grades may be assigned to one project required to reflect the essential components of that project.  The combination of those grades will result or be combined for one final project grade.

Students may re-take portions of a project.  As the teacher monitors students’ progress on project objectives for students’ grades, they may note lack of student progress and direct students to re-take assignments connected with that project.

At times, projects are part of the assessment category and may account for as much as 20% of a course grade.

Re-Take Policy
The time needed for student learning and the amount of intervention required for student mastery of content varies from student to student.  Students need to devote the extra time and take advantage of the additional support they require until they experience success.  This extra practice may occur in many different ways and take place in various settings.  For example, a student may attend tutoring offered before or after school or a student may receive support from a parent, sibling or friend who has the content knowledge to support the learning of the student.  A learning website that offers the student additional practice is also acceptable. If the student provides the classroom teacher with documentation of this support along with completion of and has completed 80% or more classwork/homework, then that student is eligible to re-test.  

Guidelines for re-testing are as follows:
  • Re-test no later than four weeks from the original assessment or no later than the end of the quarter
  • Grades reflected in the grade book are the best of all attempts
  • Documentation of additional practice  of  tutoring or support
  • Completed 80% or more classwork/homework

Students may continue to re-test for content mastery as long as the practice has been substantiated. Please note the 1st and 3rd benchmark assessment may be re-taken for students to earn a higher score.

Classwork/Homework 
Classwork and homework are the students’ independent practice of skills and concepts learned in the classroom.  Homework should not account for more than 10% of a course grade.  80% of all classwork needs to be completed in order for students to be eligible for re-takes.

AP, IB, CAMBRIDGE CLASSES and State Assessments

If a student participates in the AP, IB or Cambridge exam, the student is not required to take the course final exam. If the score on the AP exam is a 3, the student’s grade will increase 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 will increase 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 the score on the Cambridge exam is a D, the student’s grade will increase by one letter grade. If a student scores A, B or C on the Cambridge exam, the student will automatically earn an “A” in the Cambridge course.  Beginning the 2018-2019 school year, if a student earns a Highly Proficient on AzMERIT ELA or Math, or an Exceeds on AIMS Science, the student will earn an “A” in the student’s corresponding ELA, Math or Science class. If the student earns a Proficient on AzMERIT, or a Meets on AIMS, the student’s grade will be moved up by one letter grade in the corresponding class. This grading change is consistent with current high school AP, IB, and Cambridge exams. Students are not eligible for more than one grade increase per class based on IB, Cambridge, AP and Mandated State Testing.

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.