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What's New with Grading

Glenbard has a long tradition of academic excellence and we are committed to providing rigorous coursework for students. We encourage students to take the most difficult courses that are appropriate for their growth, including honors, AP and dual credit. Our change in grading practice reaffirms this commitment to academic excellence, by providing students with constructive feedback, accurate grades and flexibility in their learning, while maintaining high expectations. 

Background
The Glenbard Grading Policy Research Committee spent three years researching grading practices and has made recommendations for new grading practices and policies for August 2021. This committee is composed of teachers and administrators from all Glenbard schools and all academic departments. These changes are the result of three years of research, thought, collaboration, revision and data from our own student and staff surveys. The Glenbard Grading Policy Research Committee’s recommendation led to updating several Board policies related to grades and for creating new grading practices for teachers. These recommendations align with our new Glenbard grading purpose and belief statements. For Glenbard, the purpose of grades is to provide clear and accurate indicators of student learning that are aligned to learning standards and provide feedback to students and other stakeholders at a given moment in time.

Glenbard Family Grading Resources
Communication with all stakeholders is an integral part of grading at Glenbard and a core grading belief. These resources were created to keep students and families informed about student grades throughout the semester. These resources explain how to access grades, how to customize grade notifications, and explain all grading flags and codes in PowerSchool. These resources are available in English, Spanish, Urdu and Gujarati in order to maximize family engagement.

  1. Family Letter about grading changes, August 2021
  2. PowerSchool and Schoology access for families: Information about these systems and how parents can access them for the first time. This info is mailed to families in July each year.
  3. PowerSchool app: The PowerSchool Mobile app gives instant access to grades, scores, attendance and more on your mobile device. We highly recommend that families use the app to stay up-to-date on  student’s grades.
  4. PowerSchool automatic emails for 1s and 2s: Parents/guardians will automatically receive an email notification if their child has a 1 or 2 in any course. These emails begin in early September and continue all year on Thursday evenings.
  5. Report Cards via email: Parents/guardians will automatically receive semester report cards via email. These are sent two weeks after the semester ends.
  6. PowerSchool notifications: Families can receive custom reports to their  email on whatever schedule they prefer. They can schedule detailed reports showing all assignment scores for their student, attendance summary reports, or overall grade summary reports. This is in addition to the automatic PowerSchool notifications for 1s and 2s.
  7. PowerSchool Grading Codes: view this document to understand all of the gradebook flags and codes.
  8. View the family grading resources listed above by language: English, Spanish, Urdu, Gujarait

Additionally, teachers will communicate to students and families their course expectations, grading practices and academic supports in the syllabus, which will be available to students and families in PowerSchool.

Formative Assessments, Summative Assessments and Final Assessments
At Glenbard, teachers measure student learning and provide meaningful feedback to students through three types of assessments: formative assessments, summative assessments and final assessments. We believe formative assessments should gauge student understanding and provide feedback, and summative assessments should demonstrate student knowledge and understanding.

Formative assessments are frequent, low stakes, and give the student feedback on how they are progressing towards the learning goals. These give students an opportunity to practice the content and skills. These are worth 20% or less of the term grade, giving students a chance to learn from mistakes without having a large impact on their overall grade.

Summative assessments evaluate student learning, typically at the end of an instructional unit, by comparing it against some standard or benchmark. These could include tests, projects, labs, essays and other assessments. Summative assessments give students an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the content or skills. Summative assessments are worth 80% or more of the term grade.

Final assessments are designed to show mastery of the core learning objectives for each course. They take place at the end of the semester and per Board policy, are worth no more than 20% of the semester grade.

Formative assessments, summative assessments and final assessments are all aligned with learning goals and learning standards. We believe in the alignment of key learning goals, standards, formative and summative assessments and the importance of communicating these to all stakeholders. 

Retake/Redo/Relearning Resources
We believe that teachers should provide flexibility for student learning and we recognize that students learn at different rates. Teachers  will provide consistent opportunities for students to retake or redo summative assessments. This does not apply to final assessments. Teachers will determine when and how students will reassess.  This could include retaking or redoing the part of the assessment that the student did not understand, or the entire assessment. Teachers may provide a reassessment opportunity that is in a different format from the original assessment, but evaluates the student’s understanding of the same learning goals. Teachers may require students to participate in a re-learning opportunity before participating in the reassessment, in order to show that the students has learned the content or skills and is ready to demonstrate mastery on a summative assessment. All teachers teaching the same course in the same building will have the same reassessment practices because we believe in fair, equitable and consistent grading practices.

Late Work
Learning to meet deadlines is an important skill, but is separate from learning the content and skills in courses. We believe in providing flexibility for student learning. Late work will be accepted without a grade penalty within an extended timeframe, as determined by the teacher. This timeframe may be a certain number of days past the original due date, the end of a unit, or specific dates in the semester. Timeframes are extended, but not unlimited, so that teachers have enough time to provide meaningful feedback to students. Teachers will clearly communicate the late work policy in their syllabus, which will be available to students and families in PowerSchool. All teachers teaching the same course in the same building will have the same late work practices because we believe in fair, equitable and consistent grading practices. 

Group Grades
Student grades are based on the student’s individual achievement, even when working collaboratively on group projects and assessments. For collaborative assignments and assessments,  each student will receive a grade based on their individual achievement on the given learning goals. In some specific projects in AP Seminar class, group grades are required by the College Board and will continue.

Extra Credit
No extra credit will be offered. If an assignment is not tied to the learning goals (i.e., bringing in materials to class, dressing up for spirit week, attending after school events), they will not be part of the student grade. If assignments or assessments are part of the learning goals, they will be required and not  “extra.”  Students will have opportunities to demonstrate their mastery of class materials through the retake/redo/relearning process rather than by completing additional work for extra credit. 

Extra Point for Honors, AP and Dual Credit Courses
Students will now receive an extra GPA point for any passing semester grade in honors, Advanced Placement and dual credit courses. Previously students received an “extra point” for  a grade of 3, 4, or 5. Students will now receive an extra point for 2s in these courses as well as 3, 4, and 5. This is not retroactive. Many students are enrolled in these courses because of Glenbard’s commitment to encouraging students to take difficult courses,  and experiencing college-level courses, such as AP or dual credit, while in high school. This policy change was approved by the Glenbard District 87 at the July 19, 2021 board meeting. 

Academic Dishonesty
Glenbard takes academic honesty very seriously and students are expected to exhibit the traits of trustworthiness, responsibility and fairness. Students who engage in academic dishonesty steal ideas from others and fail to think and learn for themselves. If a student engages in academic dishonesty, they will be required to redo/retake the assignment/assessment or an alternative assignment/assessment. The teacher will contact the parents/guardians and complete a referral to the Dean of Students. The Dean of Students will meet with the student and issue an appropriate consequence. The student handbook lists possible consequences for academic dishonesty, including suspension or expulsion if warranted. Board policy previously required teachers to give students a zero on any assignment where the student engaged in academic dishonesty. We believe that grades should emphasize learning rather than behavior or compliance. Consequences for academic dishonesty are now issued by the deans and are not reflected in the student’s grade. Additionally, students who have academic dishonesty in their discipline record may be ineligible for admission into academic honor societies. This policy change was approved by the Glenbard District 87 Board at the July 19, 2021 board meeting. 

Honor Roll
Glenbard recognizes student achievement through an honor roll and high honor roll each semester. Board policy previously stated that a student with a 1 in any class  was disqualified from honor roll status, even if their grade point average otherwise qualified them for this honor. This policy was updated in July 2021 and a failing grade no longer automatically disqualifies students from the honor rolls. This is not retroactive. Given Glenbard’s commitment to creating opportunities for students to take difficult courses, it was necessary to reexamine policies that disincentivize students from taking these courses. This policy change was approved by the Glenbard District 87 at the July 19, 2021 board meeting. 

Unexcused Absences and Assignments/Assessments
Consequences for unexcused absences will be handled by the Dean of Students and regular attendance is expected for all students. We believe that grades should emphasize learning rather than behavior or compliance. If a student has an unexcused absence, they will still be able to participate in all assignments and assessments in order to demonstrate their learning and their progress towards specific learning  goals. 

Zeros
Assigning a zero for an assignment on a 0-100 point scale is disproportionately harmful to a student’s grade. As an example, with a grading scale in which the numbers 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 correspond to grades of A, B, C, D, and F, then failure to turn in work might receive a zero. This would represent a penalty, but not a disproportionate one. However, the most common use of the zero is not with a five-point scale but with a 100-point scale. On a 100-point scale, the interval between numerical and letter grades is typically 10 points. A way to think of this is the lowest D (60%) is 10 points away from the lowest C (70%). But when the grade of zero is applied to a 100-point scale, the interval between the D and the lowest F is not 10 points, but 60 points. A student who received three 90%s and one 50% would have an 80%, or a B. A student with a 0 rather than the 50% would have a 68%, or D. A student has a chance to recover their grade from a 50%; but it is extremely difficult for them to recover from a 0.

To insist on the use of a zero on a 100-point scale is to assert that work not submitted deserves a penalty many times more severe than work done poorly and is worth a D. On a grading scale of 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, the mathematical equivalent to awarding the zero on a 100-point scale would be to give a “minus 4” for missing work — something no one would suggest is fair (adapted from Douglas Reeves).

Zeros is a continued area of study for Glenbard and teachers have several options for helping students who have not completed summative assessments.

  1. Teachers may conference with students and their family about the missing summative assessments.
  2. Teachers may refer the student for additional academic support.
  3. Teachers may allow the student to complete the summative assessment during class time or during other times throughout the school day (such as study hall).
  4. Teachers may also use the Not Submitted (NS) code in PowerSchool to indicate that the assignment has not been turned in. The NS code assigns a failing grade of 50% to the assignment.
  5. Teachers may also continue to issue a zero.

Glenbard is committed to reducing the disproportionate impact of zeros in the gradebook. We believe in providing flexibility for student learning and provide grades that accurately reflect the student’s understanding. All teachers teaching the same course in the same building will have the same practices regarding zeros because we believe in fair, equitable and consistent grading practices.