Secondary Grading and Reporting
Fairfax County Public Schools is committed to consistent grading regulation and practices where grades are an accurate reflection of student learning. The current policies include the separation of achievement and work habits, guidance on providing students additional opportunities to demonstrate proficiency, and the importance of ongoing communication with students and parents.
In light of the challenges of the 2020-21 school year, four provisional changes have been made to this year’s grading policies. The changes take effect on January 4, 2021, to be applied to the 2nd quarter gradebook through the remainder of the school year.
Special Considerations for Virtual Learning
As we start the 2020-21 school year with 100% virtual learning, collaborative teams are re-evaluating grading design and policies to ensure equitable grading practices to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of all students. Acknowledging that teachers and students are facing new challenges as they adjust to the virtual learning environment, thoughtful consideration and flexibility in grading practices is recommended. Teacher/team grading policies and practices are based on approved Secondary Grading & Reporting Policy and will be communicated to students and parents via the course syllabus and other modes of communication.
Synchronous versus Asynchronous Tasks
Synchronous instruction and tasks occur when the teacher facilitates instruction at a specific time. For middle and high school students, synchronous instruction and tasks will take place during the scheduled class meeting time. Synchronous time should include teacher-led instruction, collaborative and independent learning, targeted and small-group support, and/or work assigned due to teacher absence.
Asynchronous assignments/tasks are completed by the student outside of the specified class time and without teacher support, much like homework. Asynchronous tasks are assigned by teachers to be completed on each Monday (designated asynchronous day for each week) or at other times on a limited basis. Asynchronous tasks may be independent or collaborative (i.e. projects, research/analysis hyperdocs, flipped classroom activities, etc.).
Communication with Parents and Students
Following policy for communication and grading design, grading procedures and practices established by the teacher/team for the virtual learning environment will be clearly communicated to parents/students and revisited/reinforced throughout the school year. Communication protocols will be shared with students and parents related to missing or late work, attendance, and grades.
Grading Assignments and Assessments
Update: Please note the following modifications to grading expectations effective for the 2nd quarter through the remainder of the 2020-21 school year:
- In classes that use the 100 point grading scale, the lowest grade on any assignment or assessment will be 50% of the maximum value of the assignment.
- No one assignment or assessment should count more than 20% of assignments for that quarter.
- A minimum of 6 new grades must be recorded over the course of each quarter. Please note that this is a minimum. There is no maximum number of assignments in the gradebook when used to benefit student learning. This flexibility (lowering the minimum from 9 to 6) must work in tandem with the maximum weight of a single assignment so that no one grade disproportionately impacts the quarter.
For the 2020-2021 school year, the new policies above supersede the related policies within Grading Assignments and Assessments, collaborative teams will ensure consistent and equitable grading practices and protocols given the 100% virtual learning environment. Recommended best practices for late work, homework, additional opportunities to demonstrate proficiency and assessment are below.
Update: Effective for the 2nd quarter through the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, major assignments/assessments shall be accepted at any point during the quarter with a maximum penalty of 10%. A final due date of one week before the end of the quarter may be set by the teacher/team.
While students are engaged in distance learning, teachers will provide additional flexibility for completion and submission of both synchronous and asynchronous assignments. Teachers will ensure students who must be absent are able to understand and complete assignments without a negative impact to the achievement grade.
In a virtual learning environment, assignments/tasks are either synchronous (completed during class time) or asynchronous (completed outside of class time); therefore, typical homework assignments (practice questions, review, and reading) are also considered asynchronous tasks.
It is expected that synchronous class time will include independent and collaborative assignments. Those assignments should be intentionally planned to be completed during class time. If time is required to complete assignments outside of synchronous classes, this time must be considered as part of the student’s time for asynchronous work.
For secondary, it is recommended that no more than one hour per week of asynchronous work (to include homework) be assigned per standard/honors level course. At the high school level, the time may increase to up to 75 minutes per Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Dual Enrollment course per week.
Additional Opportunities to Demonstrate Proficiency
Teachers will provide purposeful messaging informing students and parents about the retake policy and eligibility, ensuring clear protocols for retakes during distance learning. While students are engaged in distance learning, teachers will provide additional flexibility for meeting retake requirements (ie. test corrections, remediation, etc.) and completion of the retake.
Assessing in a Virtual Learning Environment
Given the 100% virtual learning environment, teachers will use a variety of assessment types to measure student growth and understanding. Some assessments may be graded while others are not. Examples of assessments that may be used are below:
- Formative assessments
- Student self-assessment & reflection
- Open-ended questions
- Portrait of a Graduate (POG) reflections
- Presentations of Learning (POL)
- Progress monitoring
- Skill(s) growth
- Performance Based Assessments
- Single Point Rubrics
Teachers will ensure students understand requirements for graded assessments. An honor code statement may be included on virtual assignments and assessments that will be graded. Parents/students may also reference established Honor Code policy and refer to guidance communicated in the course syllabus.
Progress Report Message and Grading Scale
Middle and high school progress reports include a general message to parents and grading scale descriptions. Official translations are available below.