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Policy 8010 - Grading and Reporting: Pre-Kindergarten Through Grade 8

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines to ensure that information on grading, promotion, and retention is determined in a consistent manner and regularly reported to students and their parents.

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

The Board of Education of Howard County is committed to ensuring that all students meet or exceed rigorous performance and achievement standards and recognizes the need for the regular assessment of each student’s academic progress. Grading, promotion, and retention within the Howard County Public School System are based on the degree of success the individual student has achieved in completing the educational program.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines to ensure that information on grading, promotion, and retention is determined in a consistent manner and regularly reported to students and their parents.

III. Definitions

  1. Accelerated Grade Placement – The movement of a student out of the normal progression to an advanced grade.

  2. Constructed Response – An answer developed solely by the student to a short answer or essay question or other assessment task.

  3. Effort Code/Comment – Letter code or a comment indicating the level of effort demonstrated by a student in each subject area and learning behavior.

  4. Essential Curriculum – Educational goals, content, and skills that are important for all students to learn.

  5. Individualized Education Program (IEP) – A written plan for a student with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised by the IEP team.

  6. Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team – A group of individuals responsible for identifying and evaluating students with disabilities. The IEP team develops, reviews and/or revises an IEP for a student with a disability and determines placement.

  7. Grade – A letter indicating a measure of performance related to achievement of course objectives.

  8. Grade Level Performance – Acquisition of skills as defined in the Howard County Essential Curriculum.

  9. Instructional Level – A term that indicates the instructional level at which the student is working.

  10. Interim/Progress Report – A report reflecting the progress of a student through the date of issuance.

  11. Lawful (Excused) Absence – An absence for any portion of the day under the following conditions:

    • Death in the immediate family

    • Illness of the student

    • Court summons

    • Hazardous weather conditions

    • Work approved or sponsored by the school

    • Observance of a religious holiday

    • State emergency

    • Suspension

    • Lack of authorized transportation

    • Other emergency or sufficient circumstances

  12. Marking Period – A segment of the school year during which instruction is delivered, student pupil progress is monitored, and grades are given.

  13. Official Records – A student’s report card and Student Records Systems card.

  14. Parent – Any one of the following, recognized as the adult(s) legally responsible for the student:

    • Biological parent – Natural begetter of the student; mother or father.

    • Adoptive parent – Person who has legally adopted the student.

    • Custodian – Person or agency appointed by the court as the legal custodian of the student and granted parental rights and privileges.

    • Guardian – Person who has been placed by the court in charge of the affairs of the student and granted parental rights and privileges.

    • Caretaker – An adult resident of Howard County who exercises care, custody or control over the student, but who is neither the biological parent nor legal guardian of the minor.

  15. Promotion – The normal progression of a student from one grade to the next based upon a demonstrated ability to achieve at expected levels of performance.

  16. Quality Points – The numerical equivalent of a grade on the standard 4.0 scale (A=4.0; B=3.0; C=2.0; D=1.0; E=0).

  17. Report Card – Document that records the student’s grades, attendance, and other information.

  18. Retention – The act of retaining a student in a particular grade based upon a demonstrated inability to achieve at expected levels of performance.

  19. Rubric – A scoring guide used to evaluate the quality of students' constructed responses.

  20. School/Grade Team – A group composed of teachers, counselors, the school principal or other administrators, and other appropriate staff personnel.

  21. Special Education – Specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a student with a disability, including instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and in other settings.

  22. Student Records Systems Card (Permanent Record Card) – Record by grade level of courses, tests, competency requirements, and credits earned by a student.

  23. Unlawful (Unexcused) Absence – An absence, including absence for any portion of the day, for any reason other than those cited as lawful are presumed as unlawful and may constitute truancy.

IV. Standards

  1. Grading – The grading system used to reflect student achievement for Pre K-8 includes letter grades, effort codes/comments, and instructional levels.

    1. Grades - Grades reported on interim/progress reports and on the report card at the end of each marking period in Pre K-8 are derived from a compilation of assessments from that entire marking period up to the point of the progress report or report card.

      1. Grades in Pre K-2 are the following:

        1. I - Independent

        2. W- With assistance

        3. N - Not apparent at this time

      2. Grades in 3-8 are the following:

        1. A (90-100%) - Outstanding level

        2. B (80-89%) - High level

        3. C (70-79%) - Satisfactory level

        4. D (60-69%) - Low level

        5. E (59% or lower) - Failure

          • Percent scores are rounded to the nearest whole number. Anything below .5 rounds down, and anything .5 and above rounds up. Ex.1: 89.49% rounds to 89. Ex. 2: 89.50% rounds to 90.

      3. Student grades may not be subject to a percentage grade reduction for lateness to class, absence, behavior or disciplinary action. Such actions could impact the final grade, however, in an indirect manner because of missed work and incomplete assignments.

      4. In computing numerical averages from letter grades, the following equivalents will be used: A = 4, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1, E = 0

    2. Effort codes/comments

      1. Effort Codes for Pre K-5 are the following:

        1. 1 - Outstanding (consistent)

        2. 2 - Satisfactory (most of the time)

        3. 3 - Needs improvement (inconsistent)

      2. For 6-8, teachers may comment on effort and work habits in individual subject areas.

    3. Instructional levels

      • For K-8, instructional levels (above, on, or below grade level) for reading and mathematics indicate student performance in relation to grade level expectations.

    4. Make Up Work

      1. A student may make up and receive a recorded grade for work missed due to a lawful absence. Students returning from lawful absences will have an equal number of days to complete make up work.

      2. A student may make up work but will not receive a recorded grade for work missed due to an unlawful absence.

    5. The grading and return of student work will generally occur within three weeks.

  2. Reporting

    On a regular basis, school staff shall communicate to the students and parents the level of the student’s achievement in each subject area. Communication shall take the following forms:

    1. Report Cards

      1. Report cards are issued at the conclusion of each marking period and shall reflect all work completed during that marking period unless otherwise indicated by the teacher.

      2. Parents will be informed of the report card distribution dates.

    2. Interim/Progress Reports

      1. Interim/Progress Reports are issued at the midpoint of each marking period and reflect the student’s progress from the beginning of the marking period through the date of issuance.

      2. Parents will be notified of interim report distribution dates.

    3. Conferences

      1. Parent-teacher conference days are determined by the Board of Education and are identified on the school system calendar each year. These are opportunities for the parents to meet with each teacher to discuss the progress that the student is making and to discuss interventions or assistance being recommended to assure the child achieves.

      2. Parents may contact the teacher or administrator to arrange additional conference times with a teacher or the administrator.

      3. Conferences may or may not include the student, at the parent’s discretion.

    4. Retention Notification

      • Parents will be notified in writing (by a letter to their home address) if a student is at risk of being retained in a grade. This notification may occur as early as the end of the second marking period but no later than the end of the third marking period.

  3. Academic Intervention, Promotion, Retention and Accelerated Grade Placement

    1. Academic Intervention

      • When the performance of any K-8 student is below grade level expectations, the teacher and/or grade level team must, with the knowledge and appropriate participation of parents, develop strategies and apply appropriate academic interventions to assist the student with achievement.

    2. Promotion

      • Students will be promoted from grade to grade based on successful achievement of the essential curriculum in the core subjects of English, reading, mathematics, social studies, and science. Successful achievement is measured by the grade level of "C" or better in these subjects in grades 3-8 and by a grade of "I" or "W" in grades 1-2. The principal may decide, upon recommendation of the school/grade level team, to promote students who have not achieved these grades in all core subjects.

    3. Retention

      1. Any K-8 student not on grade level in reading and mathematics will automatically be considered for retention.

      2. Any student in grade 6 through grade 8 must meet the following requirements or automatically be considered for retention.

        1. Grade 6 to 7: A student must pass all courses and receive a final grade of not lower than "C" in the core subjects (English, social studies, reading, mathematics and science). A student who does not meet this requirement may be recommended to attend summer school.

        2. Grade 7 to 8: A student must pass all courses and receive a final grade of not lower than "C" in the core subjects (English, social studies, reading, mathematics and science). A student who does not meet this requirement may be recommended to attend summer school.

        3. Grade 8 to 9:

          • a. A student must pass all courses and receive a final grade of not lower than "C" in the core subjects (English, social studies, reading, mathematics and science). A student who does not meet this requirement may be recommended to attend summer school.

          • b. Any student below grade level in reading and/or mathematics at the end of 8th grade (as shown on the student’s report card) will be required to participate in appropriate interventions, based on academic need as determined by the middle school principal. Interventions may include summer school and/or designated reading and/or mathematics intervention courses in 9th grade.

          • c. A parent may request that a principal consider retention of a student based on factors that may not be evident in the grade level assessments.

          • d. The IEP team shall consider the possible retention of a diploma-bound special education student with an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

          • e. The provisions of this policy do not apply to a certificate-bound special education student with an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

    4. Accelerated Grade Placement

      1. A principal may, upon the recommendation of a school/grade team or parent, consider accelerating a student to an advanced grade when he/she consistently demonstrates the ability to achieve at a higher level than expected in the essential curriculum and as measured by quarterly, teacher made and other assessments, and by teacher observations.

      2. The principal will decide whether to move the student to an advanced grade based on a number of factors, which may include, but are not limited to the following:

      3. Students will not be accelerated to advanced grades against the wishes of their parent/guardian.

V. Compliance

  1. Principals will communicate annually information regarding promotion, retention, and accelerated grade placement to all students, parents and staff.

  2. The principal is responsible for decisions regarding promotion, retention and accelerated grade placement, with input from the appropriate school/grade level team and based on a student’s performance and academic progress over the entire school year.

  3. School staff are responsible for communicating information related to academic performance to parents and students and for developing, implementing, and monitoring strategies to improve achievement for students performing below grade level expectations.

VI. Delegation of Authority

The Superintendent is directed to develop procedures to implement this policy.

VII. References

  • Title 7-301 State Board of Education; Subtitle 3., Compulsory Attendance

  • State Bylaw COMAR 13A.08.01.02 Lawful Cause of Absence

  • COMAR 13A.08.01.03

  • COMAR 13A.08.01.04

VIII. History

ADOPTED: June 27, 1991

REVIEWED: July 1, 2012

MODIFIED:

REVISED: June 10, 1999, May 25, 2000, June 14, 2001, July 13, 2001, January 27, 2005

EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2005