I-35 Secondary Grading Practice Information

Here you will find information to help inform parents and students on the what and how standards based grading will look for the Interstate 35 Community School District. As our teachers begin using standards based grading to provide feedback to students and parents about a students progress toward mastering the standards in each of our classes, we wanted to make sure parents had a clear understanding of what standards based grading is and how it will be used to create a clear understanding of a student's progress.

How does the district calculate letter grades? What are the percentages associated with a letter grade?

The final (semester) letter grade for every secondary course at Interstate 35 is calculated using the District Letter Grade Scale in PowerSchool. Letter grade percentages are determined by averaging the power standard assessments for the semester. A letter grade is then assigned based on the total score. Course letter grades are determined at semester using the following scale:

Image of standard based grading scales

Why is the district transitioning away from “total points” toward the use of a common 4 point scale?

Research has shown that when teachers assign their own weighting and point values to assessments, students can receive a broad range of scores from teacher to teacher on the same assignment. This can lead to inconsistencies, and potential inequities, with regard to grades that students earn. As our district grading philosophy articulates that we value “fair and equitable practices across the district” for all students, we need to align our practices to that value. The concept of using a common 4 point scale is similar to an approach most parents and students are very familiar with: the use of a rubric to score assignments. Well written rubrics, or scales, define a continuum of knowledge and understanding related to a topic or standard. An assessment can be created so a teacher knows the understanding of his or her students on a certain standard.

Example: Standard A can be assessed in questions 1-5, Standard B can be assessed on questions 5-10. At the end of the assessment a teacher can see if there is a learning gap for students on a particular standard. From that data teachers can create next steps for all students, not just students who are struggling.

As a part of our professional development, all content areas are developing common scales so that we evaluate student work through the lens of the standard on a scale that is common across disciplines. From a practical perspective, every student will be evaluated on the same set of expectations to show their understanding of the standards for each class.

What is the role of “practice” in grading?

We do not penalize students for making mistakes when completing practice assignments. Some may have previously referred to a practice assignment as homework. Because learning occurs at different rates and in different ways for individual students, all students have multiple opportunities to practice key skills before they are assessed and graded. Teachers are still responsible for recording practice assignments in PowerSchool for parents to review and monitor throughout the semester. Practice, including homework, is still a key component of learning, and in most classrooms, students may be required to complete key practice assignments before they are able to retake an assessHeadline

How does this impact my HS student’s GPA?

The formula for calculating an Interstate 35 High School student’s GPA is not changing. GPA is calculated on the basis of credits and grades earned in academic subjects and is reported on the student transcript. See the chart below:

Student GPA scale

Other resources: