FCPS Postsecondary Profile

2020-21

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) inspires and empowers students to meet high academic standards; lead healthy, ethical lives; and be responsible and innovative global citizens.

Curriculum

The instructional program for FCPS is defined by the Program of Studies. This comprehensive, rigorous curriculum contains benchmarks outlined in the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL). Additionally, in 2014 FCPS adopted the Portrait of a Graduate to answer this question: What are the skills necessary for success for all children in this rapidly changing, increasingly diverse, and interconnected world? Portrait of a Graduate moves FCPS students and staff members to look beyond the high-stakes testing environment and to help our students develop skills so they can be successful in the workforce of the future.

Six high school academies offer technical and specialized courses not found at all high schools. Career and Technical Education (CTE), fine arts, and world languages courses are accessed by students from all high schools. CTE courses offer numerous credentialing opportunities for students who pass industry certification exams.

Advanced academic courses are offered in all high schools and are open to all students who seek academic rigor. Students may enroll in honors courses as underclassmen and continue in Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or dual enrollment courses. IB Diploma Program (DP) candidates can be identified in their secondary school reports or letters of recommendation. FCPS is also home to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a public magnet school and a Governor’s School offering a comprehensive curriculum, emphasizing science, mathematics, and technology.

Detailed information is provided below on high school attendance, grading, and reporting during the COVID-19 closure in Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 instruction. 

Fall 2020 Instructional Information

We will open schools virtually with a schedule that is as close to “normal” as possible. Schools throughout the division will follow a consistent instructional schedule and provide more live, face-to-face online (synchronous) student learning.

Students will receive virtual instruction 5 days per week. The week will include 4 days of live, face-to-face online instruction with teachers Tuesday through Friday. Mondays will be used for independent learning (asynchronous). Some students will receive additional teacher assistance or intervention as needed on Mondays.

Middle and high school students will follow an A/B block schedule. Each class will be 80 minutes in length with 15-minute screen time breaks between classes.
Student attendance is required and all students will receive assignments that will be graded.

Students and parents will notice a more rigorous and engaging virtual-learning program with greater connections for all students at all grade levels. Parents and caregivers will be supported with additional resources to assist their children’s online learning.

The staff at each school will continue to work together to ensure that each student has consistent, reliable technology to access instruction each and every day. Laptops, MiFis, and other resources will be available to support every student.

The two-week delay in the start of the school year will allow teachers and other school-based staff members to engage in professional development to prepare them for teaching and learning in a virtual environment. Additionally, school teams will use the days leading up to the first day of school on September 8 to connect with families and ensure that students have access to the necessary links and can practice using the links for class. A large portion of time will be spent training teachers on how to support their students’ social and emotional well-being to address anxiety students may be feeling at this difficult time. 

Attendance, Grading, and Reporting During COVID-19 Closure Spring 2020

Information about High School Attendance, Grading, and Reporting During COVID-19 Closure Spring 2020

The following information provides key points about attendance, grading, and reporting for students. If you have any questions or require additional information, please reach out to the student’s school counselor.

The division’s goals for Distance Learning during Spring 2020 included:

  • Continuity of learning to the greatest degree possible.
  • Ongoing connections between teachers and students.
  • Sense of normalcy and routine during a stressful time. 

High School Attendance

For students in high school courses, participation in Distance Learning in the fourth quarter was essential for students to complete required new course content per the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) guidelines for earning high school credit.

When students were absent from synchronous sessions, teachers noted student’s non-participation in synchronous sessions in SIS, which was visible to parents. 

The data was not included in student attendance history and was not reported to the VDOE.
Students who were not engaged in any form of synchronous or asynchronous work were contacted by the teacher and/or other staff members, such as the school counselor, to encourage participation and remove barriers if possible.

High School Grading and Reporting

Considerations

  • Based on recommendations from the VDOE, grades were not assigned during Distance Learning.
  • Student grades and advancement to the next grade level were not negatively impacted by the state-wide closure of schools.
  • Student engagement in Distance Learning ensured access to essential standards for each course and also provided a sense of routine and connection to peers and trusted adults.
  • FCPS recognizes that students’ and families’ abilities to connect to Distance Learning were wide-ranging and diverse.

Completing Third Quarter

Third Quarter Timeline: The third quarter was extended until May 1, 2020. However, the third quarter grade book was closed to new assignments as of March 13, 2020. Students worked with their teachers to make up 3rd quarter missing/incomplete assignments and complete reassessments as feasible by May 1, 2020. 

For students who did not have access to technology or connectivity, teachers and school counselors worked together to determine appropriate opportunities and resources. 

Distance Learning Feedback During Quarter 4

Fourth Quarter Timeline: For high school students, the fourth quarter ended on Friday, June 12, 2020. 

Students received feedback such as comments on quality of work and guidance for improvement. Assignment “marks” were entered in SIS and were: Proficient, Attempted, or Not Attempted.  Students and families were able to see “marks” in SIS ParentVUE and StudentVUE, though weekly emails were not sent since there was not a fourth quarter grade.

All fourth quarter grades were No Mark (NM).

Final Grades and Awarding Credit for HS Courses

VDOE guidance was that school divisions must award standard credit for high school credit-bearing courses by ensuring that students have completed a majority of required standards, competencies, and objectives, including those that are essential for success in subsequent coursework. 

Final Exams

There was no required final exam and/or culminating activity included as part of the final course grade calculation during the 2019-20 school year.

Calculating Final Grade For Year-Long Courses

Schools/teachers had the discretion of raising a student's final grade by one grade distribution (B to B+), based on demonstrated proficiency of fourth quarter learning. A student with an F average may increase to any D grade for final mark based on fourth quarter proficiency of learning. 

  • A student’s final grade was the highest of the following:
    • Average of Quarters 1, 2, & 3
    • Average of Quarters 1, 2, & 3 w/1 grade distribution increase (if applicable) 
    • 1st Semester Grade
    • 1st Semester Grade w/ 1 grade distribution increase (if applicable)
    • Quality Points as per FCPS Grading and Reporting
  • For Rolling Gradebooks a student’s final grade was the highest of the following:
    • Quarter 3 grade
    • Quarter 3 Grade w/1 grade distribution increase (if applicable)
    • 1st Semester Grade
    • 1st Semester Grade w/1 grade distribution increase (if applicable)

Calculating Final Grade For Semester Courses

Schools/teachers had the discretion of raising a student's final grade by two grade distributions (B to A-), based on demonstrated proficiency of fourth quarter learning. A student with an F at third quarter may increase to any D grade. 

A student’s final grade was the highest of the following:

  • Quarter 3 Average
  • Quarter 3 Average w/up to a two grade distribution increase (if applicable) 

Special Consideration for Seniors 

VDOE flexibility ensured that 12th graders who were expected to graduate on time as of the March 13, 2020 school closure would still graduate on time. Schools worked with all seniors to provide opportunities to meet their graduation requirements. The last day of school for seniors was May 29, 2020.

Special Considerations for Dual Enrollment

While the majority of our dual enrollment courses are offered through Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), we also have dual enrollment courses with George Mason University, James Madison University, and Shenandoah University. Each partner had a different methodology regarding how to finish the course, and we worked closely with each college to find the best solution for students to receive credit. Guidance was shared directly with students through their dual enrollment teachers.
 

Graduates

83.5 percent of the approximately 14,037 FCPS 2020 high school graduates indicated their intention to attend postsecondary educational institutions. Of this group:

  • 61.9 percent pursue enrollment at four-year colleges
  • 19 percent pursue enrollment at two-year colleges
  • 6.2 percent pursue military/employment
  • 2.6 percent pursue other educational plans

Grade Point Average and Class Rank

Grade point average (GPA) is calculated on the basis of all high school courses for which credit has been earned, attempted, and previously awarded. FCPS high schools do not rank students. High school courses taken in middle school may be expunged from the high school transcript. The parent must submit a request within nine weeks of his and/or her child entering an FCPS high school.

Grading System

Letter Grade Percent Grade Grade Points
A 93-100 4.0
A- 90-92 3.7
B+ 87-89 3.3
B 83-86 3.0
B- 80-82 2.7
C+ 77-79 2.3
C 73-76 2.0
C- 70-72 1.7
D+ 67-69 1.3
D 64-66 1.0
F 0-63 0.0

P = Pass
WP = Withdrawal Pass
WF = Withdrawal Fail
NM = No Mark (No Credit)
T = Audit (No Credit)

Additional Weighting for Advanced Academic Courses

Students who take a year-long high school honors course in English, mathematics, science, or social studies or who take a level 4 or level 5 world language course are granted 0.5 added to their GPA calculation for each course taken.

Students who take a year-long AP, IB, or dual-enrollment course are granted 1.0 added to their GPA calculation for each AP, IB, or dual-enrollment course taken.

National Achievements

  • In the class of 2021, FCPS has 212 National Merit Semifinalists.
  • The number of Advanced Placement exams taken by FCPS students has risen from 35,759 in 2014 to 37,234 in 2019. Additionally, 77 percent of Advanced Placement exams taken by FCPS students in 2019 received a score of 3 or above (on a grading scale of 1-5).
  • In 2019-20, 64.8 percent of graduates earned advanced studies diplomas.

SAT Scores

The mean SAT scores for FCPS seniors in the class of 2020, as compared to state and national public school mean scores:

SAT statistics are calculated upon the last test for which a student was assessed.

  Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Mathematics
FCPS 604 607
Virginia 567 549
Nation 528 523

ACT Scores

The mean ACT scores for FCPS seniors in the class of 2019 as compared to state and national public school mean scores.

ACT statistics are calculated based on the last test a student completed.

  English Mathematics Reading Science
FCPS 27.1 26.5 27.4 26.5
Virginia 23.8 23.3 24.8 23.6
Nation 20.1 20.4 21.2 20.6

Community and Demographics

FCPS is the tenth largest school system in the nation with approximately 189,837 students attending 199 schools and centers. FCPS students come from countries from around the world and speak more than 190 different languages. Nearly half of the students enrolled in an FCPS elementary school speak a language other than English at home. During the 2019-20 school year, approximately 37.8 percent of FCPS students identified themselves as White; 26.8 percent Hispanic; 19.5 percent Asian; 9.8 percent Black or African American; 5.7 percent two or more races; 0.3 percent American Indian; and 0.1 percent Native Hawaiian.

Around 36,078 FCPS students, or 19 percent of all students, are projected to receive services for English learners (EL). Nearly 28,129 students, or 14.8 percent, are projected to receive special education services. 58,849 FCPS students, or 31 percent, are eligible for the Federal Free and Reduced-Price Meals Program (FRM).

Located in Fairfax County, Virginia, FCPS is the most populous jurisdiction in Virginia and the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, with more than one million residents. Over 61 percent of all county residents over 25 years of age have a bachelor's degree.

FCPS has 29 high schools with a total high school enrollment of 59,543. The average number of credits earned by each graduate is 29.3.

The average divisionwide high school ratio is 25.7 students for each teacher. The 2020-21 average per-pupil cost is $16,505.

Disclosure of Student Disciplinary Infractions

It is the student’s responsibility to disclose discipline infractions to postsecondary institutions