Policy Code: IKA
Adoption Date: Tuesday, May 15th, 2018
Iron County School District favors moving towards the consistent use of subject matter standards-based grading practices and away from grading systems that allow students to improve their grades without a demonstration of competency/proficiency.
Proficiency–based grades for courses should reflect proficiency in the prescribed course’s Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum and should cover understanding, skills, and applications. Students should have multiple opportunities to demonstrate that proficiency in a variety of ways. Grades should NOT be based on elements unrelated to proficiency. Homework and extra credit (extended learning opportunities) should be tied to demonstration of proficiency on the standards.
Students who demonstrate competency must reach more than a minimal level of proficiency in the course standards by multiple, flexible measures that address not only informational content but intended learning outcomes, essential understandings, etc.
A competency-based grading system will assist parents, students, and the public with understanding of what it takes to be College and Career Ready and also provide increased opportunities to embed 21st Century Skills as described below.
21st Century Skills:
- Critical Thinking
- Creative Thinking
- Information Literacy
- Media Literacy
- Technology Literacy
- Social Skills
Citizenship Grades: Iron County School District requires teachers to issue citizenship grades. The citizenship grade is to be separate from the academic grade. The citizenship grade should hold students accountable for both positive and negative behaviors and consider possibilities for reflecting service, leadership, and non-academic skills. The citizenship grade should reflect a student’s attitude, participation, attendance, and effort. In Iron County School District, the citizenship grade is not used as criterion for graduation. However, a satisfactory citizenship grade may be used as criterion for participation in school sponsored activities.
Academic Grades: Grades are an evaluation providing feedback to improve student performance. The following are teacher expectations for grading:
UETS Standard 5b: The teacher engages students in understanding and identifying the elements of quality work and provides them with timely and descriptive feedback to guide their progress in producing that work.
UETS Standard 5e: The teacher documents student progress and provides descriptive feedback to students, parents, and other stakeholders in a variety of ways.
UETS Standard 10b: The teacher maintains accurate instructional and non-instructional records.
Iron County teachers will grade and record all assigned student work in a TIMELY manner by updating PowerSchool weekly.
Course Disclosure: The criteria and standards for grades must be made known to students and parents. Teachers are responsible for providing a written or electronic copy of the course requirements to all students and parents for reference. Parent signatures, verifying receipt of course disclosures, are required. Course disclosures should include:
major standards and objectives of the course
method(s) of grading
major requirements of the course
criteria necessary for successful completion
Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) will work together to standardize course goals, requirements and grading methods for common courses taught by various teachers and in departments. Course disclosures will be reviewed by principals prior them being distributed to students and parents.
Participation/Performance Based Courses: Unless student attendance, participation, and appropriate performance behavior are specifically included in the grading criteria and necessary to demonstrate proficiency in the standards of the course, reduction of student grades for disciplinary reasons is not allowed. Teachers must allow students to make up all work missed due to absence because of legitimate illness, emergency situations or participation in school sponsored activities.
Academic activities outside of normal class time: A student’s classroom grade may, at the discretion of the teacher, be reduced for failure to participate in activities scheduled outside of the regular school day or class time and which are an extension of the academic class. Grades may only be reduced when the class grading criteria and standards include requirements to participate and the student is negligent in doing so. Students must inform teachers in advance if they must miss out-of-class activities or performances. Grades shall not be reduced for missing activities because of absence due to illness, emergency situations, or participation in other school related activities, unless the student fails to take advantage of make-up opportunities that must be provided.
Avoiding Student Failure: It is critical that students, parents, counselors, teachers, college and career readiness coaches, and school and District administrators be able to access updated student grades so interventions can be put into place to help students avoid failure and loss of credit. When student work is turned in on time and teachers give feedback in a timely manner by recording grades in PowerSchool at least weekly, all stakeholders can most effectively work together to minimize student failure. To assist stakeholders in accessing student grades, the following methods are available:
PowerSchool – Access on home computers, on smart devices, or on computers available at the public library or other computers
Student grading programs available to teachers
Student Messenger via emails, texts, or phone messages
Contacting the school
Grade checks in College and Career Readiness classes
College and Career Readiness coaches contact parents when students in the CCR class are failing any class. Parents are asked to contact the teacher whose class their student is failing.
Deficiency notices to students receiving grades below a “C-“ sent out to parents or guardians at midterm through electronic or paper means
Personal contact from teachers by phone, email, or printed documents
Students personally inquiring of their teachers
Given this information, it should be nearly impossible for a student to fail a class without stakeholders being fully aware of the situation and doing all they can to encourage and help students achieve success, and avoid failure.
Remediation: Remediation is most effective when accomplished by the classroom teacher as soon as the concept not mastered is identified and repeating the entire class is not necessary. Components of a remediation policy to satisfy the tenets set forth in the Utah Code 53A-13-104 will include but not be limited to the following:
Iron County School District shall establish remediation programs for secondary school students who do not meet competency levels in all courses.
Participation in the programs is mandatory for secondary school students who fail to meet the competency levels based on classroom performance.
A secondary school student need not repeat an entire class if remediation can reasonably be achieved through other means.
Remediation/Make-up programs: See Board Policies IGBE and JECDA
Students who lack credit for graduation can earn that credit in any way approved by the Iron School District. Some ways include online courses, Southwest Education Academy, correspondence courses, and regular high school courses. Courses must be taken from an accredited organization recognized by AdvancED.
Programs will be provided by the District, and/or individual schools, to give students the opportunity to make up failed credit.
Student may be required to pay the District’s reasonable rate of tuition to help pay the cost of instruction for these classes. Make-up course work must be aligned as closely as possible to the course work in the regular class.
Grading will be on the same basis as grading in the regular class. Once the remediation classwork is completed, the failed grade for the regular class will be removed and the remedial program grade will appear as remediation on the transcript of credits.