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Policy 8020 - Grading and Reporting: High School

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

III. Definitions

Within the context of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Class Rank - The relative position of a student in his/her graduation class based upon a cumulative grade point average.

  2. Code - A letter used to reflect the academic history of a student.

  3. Course - A planned sequence of instruction related to a specific subject. The content of an HCPSS course is defined by an approved essential curriculum.

  4. Course Level - An indication of the rigor of a given course. Course levels may include advanced placement (AP), gifted & talented (GT), honors (H), regular, and review. Not all courses are offered at different levels.

  5. Credit - Unit of achievement awarded for the completion of a course and the successful demonstration of established instructional objectives and standards of performance for the course.

  6. Credit By Exam - Credit awarded to a student who does not complete a course but successfully demonstrates knowledge of established learning goals by passing an examination.

  7. Essential Curriculum - The core goals and objectives that define what students are expected to know and be able to do.

  8. Grade - A letter with a quality point equivalent indicating a measure of performance and related to achievement of course objectives.

  9. Grade Point Average (GPA) - Numerical representation, weighted or unweighted, of a grade measuring a student’s overall performance across courses taken for a specific period of time. There are three types of GPAs:

    1. Marking Period GPA

    2. End-of-Year GPA

    3. Cumulative GPA

  10. Interim Report - A report issued prior to the report card that reflects the progress of a student through the date of issuance.

  11. Lawful Absence - An absence recorded as excused in accordance with Policy 9010 - Attendance.

  12. Marking Period - A segment of the school year during which instruction is delivered, student 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:

    1. Biological Parent - A natural parent whose parental rights have not been terminated.

    2. Adoptive Parent - A person who has legally adopted the student and whose parental rights have not been terminated.

    3. Custodian - A person or agency appointed by the court as the legal custodian of the student and granted parental rights and responsibilities.

    4. Guardian - A person who has been placed by the court in charge of the affairs of the student and granted parental rights and responsibilities.

    5. Caregiver - 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, as long as the person satisfies the requirements of the Education Article, §7-101 (c) (Informal Kinship Care).

    6. Foster Parent - An adult approved to care for a child who has been placed in their home by a state agency or a licensed child placement agency as provided by the Family Law Article, §5-507.

  15. Quality Points - The numerical equivalent of a grade on a 4.0 scale (A=4.0; B=3.0; C=2.0; D=1.0; E=0). Also refers to points which may be added to designated courses for weighted class rank/GPA purposes.

  16. Report Card - Document that records a student’s grades, attendance, and other information.

  17. Student Records Systems Card (Annual Secondary School Performance Data Summary or Transcript) - Record by grade level of courses, grades, credits, and other graduation requirements completed by a student.

  18. Unlawful Absence - An absence recorded as unexcused in accordance with Policy 9010 - Attendance.

  19. Weighting Grades - The process of adding quality points to honors (H), gifted and talented (GT), and advanced placement (AP) course values.

IV. Standards

  1. Grades and Codes

    1. A letter grade or a code will be given for all courses in which a student is enrolled.

    2. A letter grading (A, B, C, D, E) and coding (I, N/A, N, P, W, X, Z) system will be used; no plus or minus signs will be used for official records.

    3. Grading will reflect the level of achievement of a student. Marking period grades will be determined as follows:

      • A (90-100%) - Outstanding level of achievement

      • B (80-89%) - High level of achievement

      • C (70-79%) - Satisfactory level of achievement

      • D (60-69%) - Low level of achievement

      • E (59% or lower) - Failure (no credit awarded)

        • Percent scores are rounded to the nearest whole number. Therefore, any score below .5 rounds down and any score ending in .5 and above rounds up. (Example 1: 89.49% rounds to 89; Example 2: 89.50% rounds to 90)

    4. Coding will reflect the academic history of a student. Codes are used as follows:

      • I - I (Incomplete) codes will be used when a student has not been able to complete required coursework due to lawful absences or other extenuating circumstances. I codes will be converted to an appropriate letter grade according to Implementation Procedure II.C.6.a.

      • N - N (No credit due to absence) codes will be used when a student is denied credit in a course due to excessive absences. Any high school student with absences constituting five percent (5%) or greater of a semester or a yearlong course will be considered for denial of credit. Courses with N codes will receive no credit, will count as a credit attempted, and will earn 0 quality points in the end-of-year GPA and cumulative GPA.

      • N/A - N/A (Not Available) codes will be used when transfer students are missing marking period and/or exam grades. When the achievement of Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals requires a schedule change, N/A codes will be used for missing marking period and/or exam grades in a new course. Courses with N/A codes will receive credit and will be calculated into the end-of-year GPA and cumulative GPA.

      • P - P (Pass) codes will be used when a student successfully completes a course through credit by exam, credit awarded for coursework from non-accredited schools, or home instruction courses upon enrollment in an HCPSS school. Courses with P codes will receive credit and will not be calculated into the end-of-year GPA and cumulative GPA.

      • W - W (Withdrawal) codes will be used to indicate that a student withdrew from a course more than seven school days after the published interim report of the first quarter of the course and did not transfer into another level of the same course. Courses with W codes will receive no credit and will not be calculated into the end-of-year GPA and cumulative GPA.

      • X - X (Late enrollment in class) codes will be used when a student enrolls in a course too late for credit to be granted. Courses with X codes will receive no credit and will not be calculated into the end-of-year GPA and cumulative GPA.

      • Z - Z (Exam not taken) codes will be used when a student does not take a mid-term or final exam for a course. Courses with Z codes will receive no credit, will count as a credit attempted, and will earn 0 quality points until the Z code is converted to an appropriate letter grade according to Implementation Procedure II.C.6.e.

    5. Academic eligibility will be calculated based on all courses in which a student is enrolled, in accordance with Policy 9070 - Academic Eligibility for High School Extracurricular Activities.

    6. Quality points will be used to compute numerical averages from letter grades.

    7. A student may make up work and receive a recorded grade when a lawful absence is documented by a note from the parent in accordance with Policy 9010 - Attendance.

      1. A student may make up work but will not receive a recorded grade for an unlawful absence.

      2. Students returning from a lawful absence will be allowed the same number of days of the absence to complete make-up work.

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

  2. Grade Point Average and Class Rank

    1. Grade Point Averages (GPAs) will be calculated and reported at regular intervals on both a periodic and cumulative basis. The following guidelines will be used in calculating GPAs:

      1. The GPA for a marking period will be determined by adding each credit-bearing course’s total quality points and dividing the sum by the number of credit-bearing class periods.

      2. The end-of-year and cumulative GPAs will be determined by multiplying the quality points for the final grade earned for each course by the credits assigned to the course, summing the results, and dividing by the total of the credits assigned to the courses taken.

    2. Both cumulative non-weighted and weighted GPAs will be calculated for all students at the end of each marking period and at the end of each school year.

    3. Weighted GPAs will be based on course level, with additional quality points added to designated courses.

    4. Early senior year calculations, based on credits earned in grades 9-11, include the following, which are reported on the high school transcript:

      1. The cumulative non-weighted GPA.

      2. The cumulative weighted GPA.

      3. The non-weighted class rank.

      4. The weighted class rank.

    5. End-of-the-senior-year calculations, based on credits earned in grades 9-12, include the following, which are reported on the high school transcript:

      1. The cumulative non-weighted GPA.

      2. The cumulative weighted GPA.

      3. The non-weighted class rank.

      4. The weighted class rank.

  3. Reporting

    1. School staff will communicate to students and parents on a quarterly basis the student’s level of academic performance in the essential curriculum.

    2. The interim report will reflect the progress of the student through the date of the report’s issuance and will not represent the marking period or final grade.

    3. Teachers will notify parents of unsatisfactory progress throughout the marking period.

    4. Report cards will be issued at the conclusion of each marking period and will reflect all work completed during that marking period unless otherwise indicated by the teacher.

  4. Teachers will grade, post, and return student work within three weeks of the due date, barring unusual circumstances.

V. Responsibilities

Principals will communicate information annually regarding high school grading and reporting to all students, parents, and staff.

VI. Delegation of Authority

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

VII. References

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, §7-301, Compulsory Attendance

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, §7-101(c) (Informal Kinship Care)

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Family Law Article, §5-507

  • COMAR 13A.03.02, Graduation Requirements for Public High School in Maryland

  • COMAR 13A.08.01.03, Lawful Absence

  • COMAR 13A.08.01.04, Unlawful Absence

  • COMAR 13A.10.01.01, Home Instruction Program

C. Relevant Data Sources

  • (none)

D. Other

VIII. History

ADOPTED: June 25, 1987

REVIEWED:

MODIFIED: April 14, 2016

REVISED: February 8, 1990, June 10, 1999, January 27, 2005, June 12, 2008, March 21, 2013

EFFECTIVE: April 14, 2016