Fairfax County Public Schools is reviewing its high school grading policy for the first time in more than five years, its school board announced.
The reevaluation was launched with the aim of remedying what the school board is calling “a great degree of team/teacher variability in … grading policies and gradebook setup,” according to school documents.
The current system, the school board’s assessment says, is varied to the point “that a student may have up to 7 different gradebook set-ups and grading policies to understand.”
As such, a number of policy changes may loom on the horizon, including one that may shift the county’s grading measure from a traditional 100-point scale to a four-point, standards-based measurement that would assess a student’s proficiency in a particular topic.
Also up for discussion is the possibility of moving to a uniform rolling grade book for final grades and doing away with a final grade average based on quarterly averages.
The county also wants to provide students and parents improved and transparent feedback on individual student progress. Doing so would instill another measure to remedy what the FCPS officials are calling “significant discrepancies in grade distribution,” which have resulted in Hispanic and Black students overrepresenting the school system’s D and F grade distribution.
A number of Fairfax County high schools engaged in grading reform in the wake of the pandemic, with select locations implementing a policy that changed the lowest possible score on the 0-100 scale to a 50. The schools that did so reported “higher levels of learning, as evidenced by an increase of As and Bs of all students,” as well as “a significant decrease in Ds and Fs for Black and Hispanic students, increased graduation rates for all subgroups, [and] increased SOL pass rates (highest levels in these schools’ recent history).”
The evaluation will continue over the coming months, the county documents say, with input coming from teachers, administrators, students, and family members to best understand the experiences of those using innovative grading practices, the report said.
Policy recommendations are expected to be submitted to the FCPS school board in spring 2023.
Read the full review here.
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