Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Why were the Grading Guidelines developed?
- To increase grading and reporting consistency throughout the district. To improve communication with parents, students, guidance counselors, other teachers, colleges, future employers, and any others who need this information.
- To diagnose student weaknesses earlier and more accurately so that children can get the help they need.
- To more accurately measure our students’ achievement of the Ohio Academic Content Standards.
- To ensure that our grading practices support learning.
- To solve the problem that our grading practices district-wide were inconsistent.
How were the Grading Guidelines developed?
A district-wide committee, comprised of our Teacher Leaders and the members of the Leadership Team, met to ensure that the grades earned by students are consistent, accurate, meaningful and supportive of learning.
As a team, we read the research, articles and books and compared that to what we do based on our teacher, parent and student input.
We outlined seven grading and reporting issues that needed our attention in order to achieve our goal.
Who served on the grading committee?
Toni Johnsen, Kindergarten Teacher, Cornerstone Elementary
Joy Koncz, Grade 4 Teacher, Cornerstone Elementary
Jenna Mitchell, Grade 2 Teacher, Grill Elementary
Teresa Kozak, Grade 3, Primary Elementary
John Pritchard, Special Education Teacher, Middle School
Kristin Kovick, Grade 5 Science Teacher, Middle School
Scott Trivisonno, Grade 8 Math Teacher, Middle School
Renee Webel, Grade 6 Math Teacher, Middle School
Denny Oswald, Math Teacher, High School
Ron Gerstenmaier, High School Principal
Gladys Anderson, Foreign Language Teacher, High School
Terry Sample, Science Teacher, High School
Peggy Mang, Business Teacher, High School
Julie Gulley, Elementary Principal
Eric Morris, Elementary Principal
Janine Janke, Gifted & Testing Coordinator
Valerie Riedthaler, Pupil Services Director
Angie Wagler, Technology Director
Sharon Herchik, Director of Curriculum & Instruction
David Dunn, Superintendent
Why is consistency important?
The Grading Policies address certain grading and reporting core practices that need to be consistent throughout the district. Consistency in grading practices increases fairness for children. Consistency also improves communication.
How do Grading Guidelines improve communication?
Because the guidelines provide consistency in grading, the grades students earn will mean the same thing from teacher to teacher. For example, everyone will have a much better understanding and agreement on what an “A” means and what it takes to earn one.
Communication is also improved because the meaning is made more specific.
Why isn’t the school system sending interim reports (for grades 3-12)? There is far more information provided online in Progress Book than is provided in an interim. Students earning less than a C- will receive a hard copy at the Middle School and High School. Any parent can request a hard copy by contacting their school office. Updated grades can be obtained by checking your student’s Progress Book account.
How do you distinguish between Academic Practice and Academic Achievement?
If a student is learning something for the first time, or is still in the early stages of learning the material, it is Academic Practice. The purpose of Academic Practice is not to judge a student’s final achievement of a topic, but to evaluate where he or she is in the learning process, diagnose any problems, and aid in getting the help needed to learn or extend the material. Academic Practice could consist of many different types of assessments including, but not limited to:
- Some quizzes
- Some homework
- First drafts of writing
- Teacher questions during instruction
- Some worksheets
- Informal observations
- Exit Slips
- Class participation
- Oral Assessment
If a student has had sufficient instruction and practice on a topic, so that it is fair to evaluate him or her on the material, then it is Academic Achievement. The purpose of Academic Achievement is to evaluate how well a student has learned the material. Academic Achievement could consist of many different types of assessments including, but not limited to:
- Tests (written, oral, and performance)
- Some quizzes
- Some homework
- Writings (term papers, essays, stories, etc.)
You do NOT distinguish between Academic Practice and Academic Achievement by the type of assessment it is. For example, homework is NOT necessarily Academic Practice; quizzes are NOT necessarily Academic Achievement, etc. This depends on how the information is used.
Why are Academic Practice and Academic Achievement weighted differently?
Academic Achievement has a higher weight value than Academic Practice.
Student progress is more accurately reflected when Academic Achievement is weighted more. During Academic Practice a student is still learning the material, and it is reasonable to expect mistakes.
In summary, there is benefit in helping develop good learning habits of practicing and studying. Yet as an accurate measure of what a student has learned, a final grade needs to be based primarily on work that was actually graded for correctness. The assessment needs to be given at a time when the student has had sufficient instruction and practice to be held responsible for the material. Therefore, Academic Achievement is weighted more heavily.
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Grades 3 & 4
Grades 5 & 6
Grades 7 & 8
No less than 75
No more than 25
How do the grading guidelines help diagnose student weaknesses and strengths?
Grades will more accurately reflect what a student has learned, since the grades will primarily come from the student’s Academic Achievement.
Academic Practice will affect a smaller amount of the student’s grade.
Factors such as behavior and attitude will not be calculated into the grade.
If students’ grades are inappropriately inflated, weaknesses can be hidden by the increased grade so that they “fall through the cracks” and don’t get the help they really need.
If students’ grades are inappropriately deflated, strengths can be hidden by the decrease so they don’t get the level of challenge they really need.
When a student’s grade accurately reflects what he or she has learned, weaknesses and strengths can be found early and the child can get the help he or she needs.
What do the Guidelines say about extra credit and bonus questions?
Extra credit is not a part of the Norton City School’s Grading and Reporting System. We believe that all learning is part of the process towards achievement and progress and therefore should not be considered as an “add-on” or as an extra part of learning.
It is not non-academic work such as bringing in supplies, merely attending an event, or doing anything not directly related to what is being learned in class.
- It should not be a “last minute” attempt to raise a grade at the end of a grading period, but should be incorporated throughout the entire nine-weeks.
- Therefore, in place of extra credit, differentiation will be used. Differentiation of instruction provides an approach to teaching that accounts for planning learning activities that suit student’s learning differences in the classroom.
- Bonus questions will only be used as a way of allowing students an opportunity to answer or show their understanding of more challenging questions or work.
What about credit for participation?
Participation is an opportunity for teachers to measure what students know through an oral assessment or demonstrated skill. It is not simply keeping track of which students answer questions during class.
How will the grading policy impact seniors as they send their transcripts for college/scholarship applications?
The NHS transcript will not be impacted by this grading policy. A student transcript is a student’s official record of his/her high school career and it contains:
General student information, such as name, address, birth date, phone number, student number and current grade level
Weighted G.P.A. and class rank
Unweighted G.P.A. and class rank
A detailed list of each completed year, including class title, final grade, credits attempted and earned, and if the final grade is weighted
Attendance information, broken down by year
Ohio Graduation Assessment results, including subject, score, date of the score.
A summary of credits earned by year
A copy of S.A.T. and/or A.C.T. test scores
A copy of the current school-year schedule
Upon successful completion of graduation requirements, a Date of Graduation is added.
Why has the grading scale changed?
The grading scaled changed to reduce subjectivity and to increase consistency among grade levels.
Why is grading for students with disabilities sometimes different?
State and Federal laws mandate that students with disabilities assignments and assessments are decided and followed through based on the Individualized Education Plan developed by a team decision. The I. E. P. will provide the grading practices that work best for the individual students.
Why is Norton adding the Latin System to graduation awards?
It is wonderful to recognize excellence in academic performance. In only selecting one valedictorian and one salutatorian, we are operating under the premise that there are only a select few that have reached academic excellence. Sometimes the difference between top students can be as little as one-thousandth of a decimal point in a G.P.A. Using the Latin System, in addition to having valedictorian and salutatorian honors, will allow our school system to honor the excellent performance and achievement of many worthy students. The Latin System consists of: Summa Cum Laude (3.90 and higher G.P.A), Magna Cum Laude (3.50-3.899 G.P.A.), and Cum Laude (3.25-3.499 G.P.A.).
Do research and/or literature support the guidelines?
Yes, the grading committee read the works of many leaders in the field of grading and reporting. The guidelines are strongly supported by the following works:
Ken O’Connor – Grading for Learning, How to Grade for Learning
Robert Marzano – Transforming Classroom Grading, Classroom Assessment & Grading that Work
Thomas Gusky – Developing Grading and Reporting Systems for Student Learning and many additional articles
Rick Stiggins – Classroom Assessment for Student Learning
Rick Wormeli- Fair Isn’t Always Equal
Norton City Schools Grading Scale
IKA GRADING SYSTEMS
Grading is a system of measuring and recording student progress and achievement which enables students, parents and teachers to assess strengths and weaknesses; plan an educational future for students in the areas of the greatest potential for success; and know where remedial work is required.
The Board recognizes that a system of grading student achievement can help students, teachers and parents to better assess progress toward personal educational goals and assist the students in implementing that progress.
The administration and professional staff devise grading systems for evaluating and recording student progress. The records and reports of individual students are kept in a form that is understandable to parents as well as teachers. The Board approves the grading and reporting systems as developed by the faculty, upon recommendation of the Superintendent.
The Board recognizes that any grading system, however effective, has subjective elements. There are fundamental principles that must guide all instructors in the assignment of marks and achievement.
1. The achievement mark in any subject should represent the most objective measurement by the teacher of the achievement of the individual. A variety of evaluation measures are used and accurate records are kept to substantiate the grade given.
2. An individual should not receive a failing grade unless he/she has not met stated minimum requirements.
3. Grades are a factor used to motivate students. Poor or failing grades should trigger a variety of instructional and intervention activities to assist the student in achieving better grades by the next grading period, if possible.
Final decision on any grade is the possibility of the building principal.
(Adoptions date: September 17, 2012)
LEGAL REFS.: oac 3301-35-04; 3301-35-06