Grading Practices 2020-21
In guidance (PDF) provided to Washington school districts in June, State Superintendent Chris Reykdal offered this challenge regarding grading: “The pandemic is a call to action for our education system to reassess our grading practices. Now is the time for school leaders and educators to make grades meaningfully aligned to fewer specific standards, combined with feedback that gives students multiple opportunities to demonstrate learning and put homework and extra credit in its proper place. Now is the time to decouple behavior and compliance activities from assessing student learning.”
A team of educators was formed to determine 2020-21 grading policies and with the guidance provided by the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the district’s Equity and Accountability Policy (PDF) and with State Superintendent Reykdal’s challenge in mind, this team developed a comprehensive proposal based on evidence based- practices and prior district guidance (PDF) on assessment of student learning and grading.
During the 2020-21 school year, the Bellevue School District is implementing four new grading practices for students. The following are designed to result in grades that are more equitable and reflective of student learning:
- Classroom assessment is aligned to standards
- Students are provided with multiple opportunities to demonstrate learning
- Students can re-take and/or re-do summative assessments
- Late work used to assess student learning is fully recognized to demonstrate proficiency
Please continue to utilize ParentVUE to monitor student progress and check on assignment grades. Please communicate with teachers if you have concerns about your child’s progress.
Grading Advisory Team:
As part of a longer-term plan to improve grading practices, a Grading Advisory Team with representation from educators, administrator and families is meeting to develop a district-wide grading plan with a timeline of May 2021. The team is committed to working with educators, students and families to explore grading practices with a lens of effectiveness and equity. The Team will gather input from relevant stakeholders, collect data on assessment and grading, review research on best practices to build shared understanding of what a better grading system will look like.
The long-term outcome is that all students will be supported by a high quality, equitable grading system that accurately reflects learning, is resistant to bias, is motivating for students, and is a more meaningful measure of student progress.
2020-21 First Semester/2nd Quarter Grades
The Grading Advisory Team has been discussing options for first semester/2nd quarter reporting period to address the impact of continued remote learning during the COVID pandemic on student grades. The Grading Advisory considered multiple factors and gathered feedback from educators, staff and students with the following themes emerging:
- Educators share a common interest in ensuring that student success and well-being were at the forefront of the decisions made. Educators have a strong belief, commitment and interest in supporting students.
- In many schools and classes, equitable grading practices such as aligning assessments with standards, providing multiple opportunities and formats for demonstration of student learning, allowing summative assessments to be re-taken/re-done, considering late work in, using equal interval scales (such as a 0-4) and a minimum grade floor are already in use.
- Given the short timeline between now and the end of 1st semester/2nd quarter, major changes could cause confusion and frustration among staff, students, and families.
There were also various specific suggestions about how to address the needs of students and staff members which were considered. The options are designed to mitigate the impact of the challenges of remote learning on student grades, while honoring the professionalism of our educators. Following the winter break, the various options will be reviewed with the Bellevue Education Association and approved changes will be communicated as soon as possible after the winter break.