School Board approves updated grading policy

Superintendent says community wants to rely on professional expertise of teachers 

At its Sept. 7 meeting, the Virginia Beach School Board approved an updated policy to evaluate students that it says will help ensure grading consistency throughout the division.

Policy 6-72 now states, in part:

“The most important assessment of student learning is conducted by teachers as they observe and evaluate students in the context of ongoing classroom activities. Classroom teachers have the responsibility for evaluating student progress and providing grades to represent scholastic achievement. Grading is not to be used for discipline purposes.

The Superintendent shall be responsible for developing and implementing a uniform procedure for evaluating student progress across the School Division. Each school by grade level, department or specialized course shall develop and submit grading expectations for approval by the Department of School Leadership. The Superintendent will establish regulations describing procedures for such approval that are consistent with this policy, administrative grading guidelines, and law. Approved grading expectations will be effective for the 2017-18 school year and thereafter reviewed and approved annually.”

See full text of policy below.

Fair and Equitable Grading Practices Committee review

This approval of the new policy ends a year-long research and community input process. During the 2015-2016 school year, the Fair and Equitable Grading Practices Committee reviewed current VBCPS policy along with national research. It then provided the public with recommendations for best practices to grade students.

In addition, the public weighed in on these recommendations via a survey of all secondary teachers, VBCPS-hosted roundtable events and an e-Town Hall. Then, a group of parents submitted a number of recommendations to the committee. Those suggestions were also thoroughly reviewed as part of the evaluation process.

Teachers have ‘professional expertise’

“Overwhelmingly, after all these conversations about grading, the feedback we received from our community was to rely on the professional expertise of our teachers,” said VBCPS Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence.

“This change in policy allows us to do just that. Our teachers will be the ones to work together by department, grade level or specialized course to identify the grading practices that will be the most successful in their classrooms and buildings.

“Meanwhile, our grading guidelines, which clearly reflect the community input we received, will help provide some uniformity to the options available to our teachers, and they will ensure that every student in our schools can experience the same fundamental approach to grading from our division.”

Discussion continues

Also, as previously reported, school administration and teachers will spend this school year discussing the grading guidelines. Then, they will decide which practices they want to move forward with during the 2017-2018 school year.

From there, school committees and teams made up of parents, teachers and building administrators will review those plans to make sure they align with the division’s 2017-2018 guidelines.

Full text of updated policy

INSTRUCTION

Student Evaluation and Grading/Class Rank
  1. Evaluation and Grading: The most important assessment of student learning is conducted by teachers as they observe and evaluate students in the context of ongoing classroom activities. Classroom teachers have the responsibility for evaluating student progress and providing grades to represent scholastic achievement. Grading is not to be used for discipline purposes.The Superintendent shall be responsible for developing and implementing a uniform procedure for evaluating student progress across the School Division. Each school by grade level, department or specialized course shall develop and submit grading expectations for approval by the Department of School Leadership. The Superintendent will establish regulations describing procedures for such approval that are consistent with this policy, administrative grading guidelines, and law. Approved grading expectations will be effective for the 2017-18 school year and thereafter reviewed and approved annually.
  2. Class Rank: A student’s grade point average and class rank will be computed for the following purposes:
    1. Determine honor graduates.
    2. Determine if the student is eligible for the diploma seal awarded by the Virginia Board of Education.
    3. Communication to college admission offices and other agencies designated by the student and/or parent.
    4. Determine the valedictorians and salutatorians for the graduating class.
  3. Appeal of student grades: Grades assigned to students will be presumed final and valid unless changed through appeal. The Superintendent will establish criteria and procedures for appealing specific grades. Such appeals will be final as set forth in applicable regulation and there shall be no right of appeal to the Superintendent or the School Board.

From VBCPS news release

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