CCISD moves to new Pass/Fail grading system

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Photo courtesy of CCISD

CCISD, who recently moved to the Pass/Fail grading system in light of coronavirus school closures

Leah Burnam, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

CCISD recently made the decision to modify their current grading guidelines in light of recent coronavirus events. The district has chosen to switch to a Pass/Fail system due to the pandemic, as well as all school closures. Although the district announced this in their Facebook livestream on April 8, broadcasted to all parents, the new system will only include those in grades six through twelve.

Elementary students will focus on “Standards-based grading” and meeting grade level targets. In addition, their final report card for the second semester will only include the third nine weeks information and the teacher will contact parents regarding their child’s fourth nine weeks data.

The new guidelines state that daily grades accumulating in a 60% or higher average will be deemed as a Pass (P) and anything lower will be considered a Fail (F). This will then earn a student their credit needed for the semester. In order for a student to move onto the next grade level they will need to have passed their first semester (determined by the overall average) along with Pass indicators for the second semester. Because this new system is not a part of the district’s Grade Point Scale, a student’s class rank or GPA will not be affected as a result of second semester grades and all final class ranks for the 2019-2020 school year will be determined by the Fall 2019 GPA. Nevertheless, this will not impact current seniors and the Class of 2020 will still receive their honor graduate recognitions.

Many parents and students have noted their disappointment in the new system, stating that many kids have worked hard to maintain their GPA and rank. However, the Board of Trustees explained how this choice was in no way easy and much discussion came about before approving this final change on April 6.

“During this unprecedented public health crisis certain temporary modifications to the District’s instructional grading and reporting requirements will alleviate academic pressure on students and facilitate the most equitable transition for all students to distance learning. Our goal is to assist students and families through this transition to distance learning, recognizing that while we have the best of the best teachers in place, the internet is not a full replacement of in class instruction. By this change, students, especially at the high school level, can continue to complete assignments with quality and without fear and anxiety of moving down in class rank because of the inherent challenges of distance learning,” Greg Smith, Superintendent of CCISD, said.

The new modifications to the grading system are as follows: Base promotion, grade-level advancement, and course credit on “proficiency in the curriculum” rather than “mastery of the curriculum.” Replace the numerical grading scale for secondary students with a Pass/Fail grading system, with passing being an average of 60 or higher. Ensure Pass/Fail grades shall be recorded on the academic achievement record but shall not receive grade points nor be used in determining GPA or class rank. For secondary students, validate proficiency in the skills necessary for success at the next level through daily grades and ensure teachers record only daily grades, with a minimum of one daily grade each week. And for elementary students, define proficiency as meeting grade level targets for the majority of the learning objectives.

This new system will in no way effect Clear Horizons students, nor will it affect the dual credit grades of those choosing to take a college course as that will be determined by the student’s own individual college.

Teachers will continue to release numerical grades via Skyward but final grades on transcripts will be labeled as P or F. Teachers will also no longer take any major grades for the remainder of the school year and late assignments will not be counted against a student during these times. With this new system, the district hopes that students will be able to relieve some stress about distance learning and become excited for the return during the 2020-2021 school year.

“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 [or anything similar]. Grace, patience and understanding are most needed by all during this time,” CCISD, on their website, said.